Remarks for Sister Jurisdiction Signing

Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova
Thursday, Sept. 24, 2009

Songpa-gu, Seoul, Korea

Honorable Mayor Kim Young-Soon, Distinguished Members of the Songpa-gu City Council, Chamber of Commerce and Directors of the Songpa-gu Board of Education.  

It is my great pleasure to appear before you today as our two jurisdictions join together as partners.  I wish especially, Madam Mayor, to thank you for initiating this Sister Jurisdiction Relationship.  On July 13th of this year, a similar Signing Ceremony was conducted in our Fairfax County governmental center.  Mayor Kim spoke eloquently and received a standing ovation from our audience.

Joining me at this ceremony are:

  • Dan Storck, Elected School Board member representing Fairfax County’s Mount Vernon District
  • David Molchany, Deputy County Executive of Fairfax County
  • Barry Biggar, President and CEO of Visit Fairfax which promotes tourism, and
  • Christina Fullmer, a Senior Staff Aide in my office, who handles, among other things, Asian affairs.

Fairfax County is located near Washington, D.C., spans 395 square miles and has a population of about 1.2 million residents.  We are a very diverse community.  More than 100 languages are spoken in the homes of our students enrolled in county schools. 

Nationally we are known for having one of the finest school systems in the country.  Statistically, we are the safest community of our size in the U.S. and have been named the “Best Managed Jurisdiction of our Size in the U.S”. by Governing Magazine.  We are business-friendly and environmentally aware.  National media have referred to Fairfax County as “a job machine” and as “one of the greatest success stories of our times.”

Our Board of Supervisors is excited about this partnership for a number of reasons.  We recognize that Fairfax County shares many of the same attributes as Songpa-gu and look forward to opportunities for collaborations and the sharing of best practices.  We also appreciate the opportunity to have a relationship with a part of the world that is the native home to so many of our residents.  

Korean Americans are the largest and fastest growing segment of our Asian-American population, numbering approximately 55,000.  Our Korean community has brought to our country and our county its impressive value system for education, industry and family.  

We currently have 49 Korean-owned firms in Fairfax County.  They operate primarily in the industry sectors of Information Technology, Bio Science and Media.  In addition, there are countless Korean- owned retail operations such as restaurants and dry cleaners.  The Washington branch offices of two prominent Korean papers—Korea Daily and Korea Times—are two of the larger Korean firms in Fairfax.  

Our Fairfax County Economic Development Authority has had an office in Seoul for approximately five years and it has been very successful.  Out of 26,000 counties and cities in the U.S., we are the only County to have an investment office in South Korea.  The director of our office is Charles Kim.  He is an expert in assisting Korean firms as they consider the U.S. and Fairfax County for business locations.  He works closely with our EDA staff so that there is a seamless system between our office in Seoul and EDA headquarters in Tysons Corner.  I expect that with this new Partnership, we will experience even more economic opportunity between our two jurisdictions. 

I would like to thank you Madam Mayor Kim and Honorable Members of the Council for the outstanding itinerary prepared for our delegation.  We are very pleased to be in your beautiful district and look forward to much mutually beneficial collaboration as our Sister Jurisdiction Partnership matures.


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