Mother's Cancer Diagnosis Motivates Gay Man To Run For Georgia Assembly

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Credit: www.samforgeorgia.com

(CNN) The first openly gay man elected to Georgia's General Assembly, Sam Park, spoke to CBS46 news about what role he will play in next year's session and what his win represents in his first on-camera interview Wednesday.

"I did not run to make history," said Park, who like many Americans on election night couldn't believe Donald Trump had won the White House.

He was also shocked he won, beating three-term Republican Valerie Clark for Gwinnett County's State House District 101.

"It was a grassroots effort, I knocked on thousands of doors," said the Georgia native, who is also the first Asian Democrat in the Georgia legislature.

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"For me it means a lot, it shows how far our society has progressed," said the 31-year old.

But Park says his minority status wasn't his reason for running. Instead it was his mother's cancer diagnosis two years ago.

"And it was Medicaid and Medicare that gave her access to healthcare and you know that experience taught me that having access to health care is a matter of life or death," said Park.

"Currently we have 500,000 Georgians who don't have access to health care," he stressed.

Reaction to his victory has gone international.

Even the South Korean government sent him this letter congratulating him for the upset.

Park, who is of Korean decent and lives in Lawrenceville, is a Georgia State University graduate and an attorney who values his faith overall.

"Faith is something to me that transcends all differences, race ethnicity gender or sexual orientation," said the youngest of three.

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At a victory party Wednesday night, Park's supporters talked about how people ruled him out until the very end.

"I think it reflects the mood of the electorate in that they want change," said Park.

The Georgia Assembly's 2017 Session begins January 9.


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