winning candidate

This strapping, gay, Asian American millennial is making history in Georgia’s general assembly

Meet Sam Park.

The 34-year-old is currently running for his third term in Georgia’s general assembly. In 2016, he did what many believed to be impossible when he flipped a red district blue.

“I ran against a three-term, very well respected Republican chairwoman, most folks on both sides of the aisle thought I had no shot,” Park recalls in a new interview with South Florida Gay News.

In winning that election, Park became the first openly gay man to be elected to the Georgia state legislature and the first Asian American Democrat ever elected to the Georgia General Assembly.

Although nobody seems less impressed by this than the candidate himself.

“I am actually quite representative of my district as an openly gay Asian American millennial,” Park says, humbly. “My district is majority-minority. It is very diverse and the median age is 36.”

Since taking office, Park, who is the son of Korean immigrants, has been a champion for LGBTQ equality, a voice for HIV awareness, and a vocal opponent of religious freedom laws that are being abused by companies to justify their homophobic beliefs.

As Georgia’s first openly gay state representative, he understands better than anyone about the importance of having a seat at the table and a “voice in the room on issues like non-discrimination ordinances.”

Park, who won his 2018 reelection with nearly 60% of the vote, has also spoken out in support of adding more LGBTQ content in the classroom and making sure sex ed classes are accurate and inclusive.

“My understanding is that Georgia does not have an LGBTQ curriculum for students,” Park says. “We’re still working to ensure that the sex education that’s taught is scientifically accurate.”

And when he’s not busy being a champion for LGBTQ people or running for reelection, Park is out marching in the streets for Black Lives Matter and rescuing lost kittens from danger.

Just last month, a stray cat showed up at his campaign headquarters. Park posted about it on Instagram, asking the cat’s owner to e-mail him personally so he could ensure it gets returned to its proper home.

When nobody responded, he adopted the kitten, naming her Mira and declaring her his new campaign manager.

“She meows a lot,” he laughs, “and is a little stinky, too.”

This week, Park was endorsed by Stacey Abrams. He will face off against Republican Carol Field in November.