By Maria Rocha-Buschel
East Village resident Ronnie Cho knew that he wanted to be in public service when he saw how hard his parents worked as struggling small business owners while he was growing up.
“That experience made me want to help my community,” he said. “I didn’t know about politics then but I had the seed of public service planted early. I wanted to be a part of the process that elected good people.”
Cho is running to replace term-limited City Councilmember Rosie Mendez in District 2, which covers the East Village as well as Union Square, Alphabet City, Kips Bay, Murray Hill and parts of the Lower East Side, and is a former staffer from the Obama administration in addition to previous roles with MTV in social engagement and public affairs.
Cho’s parents immigrated to the United States from South Korea and ultimately settled in Phoenix, where Cho and his siblings grew up and where they opened a restaurant in which he spent his childhood years. Cho ultimately studied political science in college with the goal of connecting with people in the community.
“People need a relationship with government,” he said. “I believe government should be a force of good. It should have a role in creating opportunities and protecting people. You need to stand on street corners and be ready to be yelled at, disagreed with. It’s part of the process.”