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Rep. Andy Kim. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe)

Kim pushes back on Flanagan’s claim that ‘he’s not one of us’

Congressman: ‘Even our politics shouldn’t divide between ‘us’ and ‘them”

By Ashley Gallagher, July 20 2021 12:27 pm

Rep. Andy Kim (D-Moorestown) today slammed GOP rival Tricia Flanagan’s digital campaign ad for saying that the lone Asian American in the New Jersey congressional delegation is “not one of us.”

“’Not one of us’ are words that make it sound like I don’t belong here,” Kim said on Twitter.  “I went to kindergarten in my district, grew up here and am raising my kids here, so when you say, ‘he is not one of us,’ it disrespects my love and connection to this community that raised me and my kids.”

He called Flanagan’s statement “words of division, not unity” and said that he has disrespected all Asian Americans who have been told that they do not belong in America.

“’Not one of us’ are words my immigrant parents heard all too often that caused them to be reluctant to talk in public for fear of having someone mock their accents despite living here in America for 50 years,” the two-term congressman said.  “Not one of us’ are words that echo and enable the taunts that my five-year-old boy experienced when a bigger kid kept calling him Chinese Boy.”

Kim, who said he’s never met Flanagan, suggested that she will claim her language is about politics, not race.  He said that was what he heard in 2018, when a Republican flyer used a font called “Chop Suey” often used by Chinese restaurant menus, and a photo of several whole fish on ice.

“Even our politics shouldn’t divide between ‘us’ and ‘them,’” Kim stated.  “Excuses about politics don’t make things ok. I regretted not speaking out more in 2018. I thought maybe it would just go away. But your new usage clearly shows that we need to stand up against hurtful words and let people know it’s not right.”

Kim also went at Flanagan’s residency.  She lives in Princeton, which is outside New Jersey’s 3rd district.

“I know you’re new to this district. You’ve never lived here, so maybe you think this kind of language works,” Kim said.  “But let me tell you, people are sick and tired of the politics of division. They don’t want to be told they don’t belong.”

In the 2020 presidential election, President Donald Trump narrowly carried the 3rd district, something that Flanagan touted, and Kim addressed.

“The Rep(resentative) here should respect and serve everyone in the district regardless of who they voted for. If you’re running to sow division, maybe you should reconsider,” Kim said.  “That’s not what this job is about.”

Kim asked Flanagan to watch her rhetoric and concentrate on issues.

“There’s a long way to go until November of next year. Maybe you’ll be the nominee. Maybe we’ll get to debate. Let’s focus on what matters. This is a job about service, it’s a job about community, and it’s a job that requires empathy. Let’s act accordingly.”

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