안녕하세요? My name is Cory Lemke, and I am a voter from Tucson, Arizona. I have been living in Seoul, South Korea for the past seven years. I currently serve as the Vice Chairperson of Democrats Abroad Republic of Korea.
I was born in Jeonju, South Korea and was adopted to the United States at six months. I have an older sister, older brother, and younger sister. Both my older brother and younger sister are also adopted from Korea. Despite this, we grew up in a primarily White community in northern Iowa. During middle school, my family moved cross country, and it was at this time that I became more conscious of my race and ethnicity. Tucson, Arizona is much more racially mixed than northern Iowa, and I became another person of color in Tucson’s diverse tapestry of people.
As a young political science major at Arizona State University in the late 2000s and early 2010s, I witnessed the Democratic transformation in Arizona politics firsthand. In 2008, our state amended its constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman. I saw the controversial, anti-immigrant SB1070 pass the state legislature in 2010. In 2011, Gabrielle Giffords was shot at a grocery store just down the street from my home. But our state is undergoing enormous change. With the Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell vs. Hodges, we saw marriage equality in the state in 2015. Three years later in 2018, the state elected the first openly bisexual member of the United States Senate, Kyrsten Sinema. Now, at the outset of the 2020 election, Arizona is poised to elect another Democratic Senator in Mark Kelly and give Joe Biden its eleven electoral votes.
In 2014, I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to reunite with my biological family. The experience of having family on both sides of the Pacific is something many AAPI people can relate with, and it has shown me firsthand the issues our communities face - immigration and citizenship, protection of small business, and equality of educational opportunity. It is for these reasons I am enthusiastic to serve our community and ensure the AAPI voice is heard in Democrats Abroad and beyond.