Rafu Wire and Staff Reports
With hundreds of supporters in attendance, David Ryu held his swearing-in ceremony Sunday on the south lawn of City Hall to mark the start of his four-year term on the Los Angeles City Council.
Ryu, 39, a health center director, is the first Korean American city councilman and the second Asian American member of the council. The first was Michael Woo, who served from 1985 to 1993.
Ryu was joined at his swearing-in event by his parents, Eul-joon and Michelle; State Treasurer John Chiang; and former Los Angeles County Supervisor Yvonne Burke, for whom he worked as a senior deputy.
Many relatives came from South Korea to attend the ceremony. Mayor Eric Garcetti, City Attorney Mike Feuer, and most of the City Council were among the dignitaries representing the city. Also present were Korean Consul General Kim Hyun-mung and Korea Times CEO Jae Min Chang.
“I am humbled to be the first Korean American City Council member, and the first Asian American to stand here in a generation,” he said. “I am proud to lead my community through these doors to take our rightful place sharing in the leadership of Los Angeles.”
But he added, “I am even more proud that I was sent here by the neighborhoods with very few Asian American voters. I was chosen not because of my ethnic heritage. I was chosen because I made the commitment to the people of the 4th to put our neighborhoods first.”
Ryu has announced that Sarah Dusseault will be his chief of staff. She served as campaign manager and senior advisor for Bobby Shriver’s campaign for the Board of Supervisors in 2014, developed Garcetti’s campaign policy agenda for his 2013 mayoral race, and managed and guided the legislative agenda for Garcetti when he was president of the City Council.
Ryu will attend his first City Council meeting as a councilman on July 1.
“Now, time to get to work!” he said after the ceremony.
Ryu defeated Carolyn Ramsay in the May runoff race to fill the 4th District City Council seat being vacated by termed-out Councilmember Tom LaBonge. Ramsay was LaBonge’s chief of staff.
Ryu made a surprisingly strong showing among 15 candidates in the March primary and won the backing of the Los Angeles County Democratic Party.
He carried the torch of the political outsider, cashing in on popular themes of rejecting campaign donations from developers and accusing LaBonge of misusing discretionary funds. His website notes he has “never been part of the crowd at City Hall.”
The 4th District stretches from Sherman Oaks, through Hollywood and Griffith Park and into the Hancock Park and Miracle Mile.