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Ramey Ko named Municipal Judge in Austin

Congratulations to APAP Board member, Ramey Ko. He's just been appointed by the Austin city council as a Municipal Judge for the city. According to Ramey, he may be the first Asian American judge in the state's capital and most progressive city. Here's his bio:

Ramey Ko (SM02) is an attorney and activist in Austin, TX.  Born to parents who immigrated from Taiwan, Ramey grew up in Carrollton, TX, a suburb of Dallas.  He was inspired to serve by his parents, who have always generously given their time to support the local Asian American community despite the demands of running a small business.  After studying history at Yale and teaching English in Japan, Ramey attended the University of Chicago Law School, where he developed a passion for public interest law and met then State Senator and Professor Barack Obama.

During law school, Ramey began his personal involvement in politics by interning for Senator Tom Harkin, volunteering for the Howard Dean presidential campaign in Iowa, and joining IVI-IPO, a progressive political organization that seeks to provide alternatives to the Democratic machine in Chicago.  After law school, Ramey was awarded an Equal Justice Works fellowship to work for Texas RioGrande Legal Aid in Austin on housing issues faced by victims of domestic violence.  In December 2006, Ramey founded Asian Americans for Obama, a national grassroots organization that organized the Asian American community in support of Obama's campaign and now agenda.  He also co-founded and serves as president of the Capital Area Asian American Democrats.  Ramey was also chosen as a national delegate for Obama to the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver.  In 2007, Ramey was appointed to the City of Austin Commission on Immigrant Affairs and served as Chair from August 2008 to August 2009.  In October 2009, Ramey was appointed to the Public Safety Commission, which oversees the budgets and policies of Austin police, fire, and EMS.  In June 2009, he joined the staff of the Texas Advocacy Project, a non-profit law firm that provides free services to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.  He is also a board member for Asian Pacific Americans for Progress, a national network of progressive Asian Americans and allies for progressive action and change.

In April 2009, Ramey achieved brief notoriety after he testified before the Texas House Elections Committee against a bill requiring certain forms of photo ID to vote.  In response to his testimony about name matching problems encountered by Asian American voters in states that adopted similar legislation, State Representative Betty Brown suggested to Ramey that Asian Americans should "change their names" to make them easier.  Rep. Brown apologized after widespread public condemnation of her remarks, and the bill was later defeated.

Ramey is particularly passionate about getting more young people and Asian Americans involved with activism, politics, and community service.  In his free time, Ramey enjoys cooking and karaoke.

In terms of his duties, Ramey will be hearing Class C misdemeanors, magistration of people arrested for crimes in Travis County, and approving search and arrest warrants.

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