H.J. John Park has become the first Korean-American mayor in Georgia, the United States. The runoff election results for Brookhaven's mayor showed that former council member H.J. John Park garnered 3,564 votes (58.6 percent), and his competitor Lauren Kiefer earned 2,520 votes (41.4 percent).
“I couldn’t be happier,” Mayor-elect Park said in Korean. “I am just speechless.” He switched to English and added, “As the first-generation immigrant in the United States, I am proud of being elected the first Asian- and Korean-American mayor in Georgia.
Born in South Korea, Park came to the United States with his father, a Protestant pastor, at the age of two. After graduating from Emory University, he joined IBM and earned an MBA at Emory University Goizueta Business School. Later, he moved to Northrop Grumman, a defense technology company, where he was in charge of contract affairs with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
First elected Brookhaven’s council member in the 2014 by-election, Park, as a third-time winner, remained in the city council for nine years. Back in June 2017, he played a crucial role in helping build the third statue of a young girl known as the "Peace Statue” in the United States in a city park.
Brookhaven’s population is 59 percent White, 21 percent Hispanic or Latino, 12 percent Black, and 8 percent Asian. Compared to other U.S. communities, it has more Asian residents. Georgia is one of the friendliest regions with South Korean businesses. It is home to battery facilities built jointly by Hyundai Motor Group and SK Innovation. Hyundai Motor is currently building EV production lines in the state.