Ronald Kim, a lawyer who lives on Glen Lake in Queensbury, announced he is seeking the 2018 Democratic nomination in the 21st Congressional District, becoming the sixth Democrat to enter the race.
“Watching what’s going on in the country, it’s hard to just sit on the sidelines,” said Kim, in a telephone interview on Tuesday, after announcing his candidacy in a news release on Monday.
Kim said he hopes to participate in a forum at SUNY Adirondack in Queensbury on Thursday with the other five announced Democratic candidates and Republican candidate Russell Finley.
Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Willsboro, was invited, but cannot attend because of a scheduling conflict, organizers said.
The forum at 6 p.m. Thursday is in Room 206 of the college’s Scoville Hall.
Kim, who was Saratoga Springs public safety commissioner from 2006-09, said his experience in elected office distinguishes him from many of the other Democratic congressional candidates.
As an elected commissioner, he administered the city police and fire departments and was a member of the City Council.
“Being in public office, you have to deal with the heat. That’s an essential part of it. ... That will stand me in good stead with the voters as we go along with this process,” he said.
Kim said his political campaign experience, knowledge of the congressional district, and “small business” experience are other attributes.
“People forget that a law firm is really a small business,” he said.
Kim was elected a Hillary Clinton alternate delegate to the 2008 Democratic National Convention, and lost a bid for Saratoga Springs mayor in 2009.
“I do have elected office experience. I’ve run campaigns. I’ve won and I’ve lost,” he said.
Other announced candidates seeking the Democratic nomination are as follows:
Don Boyajian of Cambridge, an environmental and municipal government lawyer;
Tedra Cobb of Canton, a business consultant and former St. Lawrence County legislator;
Emily Martz of Saranac Lake, an economic development adviser;
Patrick Nelson of Stillwater, a political activist and Bernie Sanders delegate to the 2016 Democratic National Convention;
Katie Wilson of Keene, a political activist and business owner.
Other Democrats are exploring the race.
Warren County Democratic Chairwoman Lynne Boecher has said there may be as many as nine candidates in the June 2018 Democratic primary.
Echoing other candidates, Kim criticized Stefanik, a two-term incumbent, for voting in favor of the House Republican legislation to repeal and replace former President Obama’s health care plan, and for not agreeing to attend open public forums with large audiences regarding health care.
“I just thought it was a disqualifying event,” Kim said, referring to Stefanik’s health care vote.
Kim said he will meet with voters throughout the 12-county 21st Congressional District.
“We need to figure out how to bring this country together,” he said. “I think one of the ways to do that is through dialogue — being willing to talk.”
Stefanik, as other candidates have announced, has repeatedly said she is not focused on her re-election campaign at this time.
Kim graduated Glens Falls High School in 1977, and has received degrees from Colgate University, University of Chicago, and Fordham University School of Law.
He operates a law practice in Saratoga Springs, focused on consumer protection, labor rights and bankruptcy proceedings.
He and his wife purchased a home in Queensbury in 2008, which now is their primary residence.
“It’s sort of an empty nester thing as our lifestyle has changed,” he said.
Among other political parties, Finley, who is challenging Stefanik in a Republican primary, is a beef cattle farmer and real estate broker from St. Lawrence County.
Two female Green Party members are considering the race, according to Matt Funiciello, the Green Party congressional candidate in 2014 and 2016.
Christopher Schmidt of Fort Edward, a political activist, is exploring running on the Libertarian Party line.