A Fighter with the Tool of Dialogue
Park Llafet is no stranger to overcoming adversity. Born in Seoul, South Korea, Park was adopted and would become the youngest US Naturalized Citizen at the age of four. He grew up in a happy Caucasian home, residing in a rural area with a well-known racist group camp nearby who often interacted and mingled with the locals. The experience impressed upon Park the importance of having a dialogue, even when you disagree.
A Leader Who Never Gives Up
Almost fifty years later, in 2016, he had a major heart attack and small stroke, which led to diabetes, arteriosclerosis, and, unfortunately, amputation. For the next three years, he would have two more heart attacks, and on one occasion, he did not expect living past the weekend.
Park ended up with a second amputation below the knee of the right foot. Park took on the challenge of relearning to walk, regaining balance, and walking with a prosthetic. With the help of amazing health professionals, family, friends, and his faith in God, he is now at a new normal of 100% health.
He aims to take this experience of persistence and resilience and help his fellow Vancouver residents create a better future for the city. “When you fall, you don’t give up… you get back up and walk.” And that is the practical philosophy he brings to complex and entrenched issues in our district.
“When you fall, you don’t give up… you get back up and walk.”
His plans intend to help position Vancouver to increase jobs, lower taxes for families and those that are on fixed incomes, find workable solutions for the homeless, and help spur the growth of a vibrant waterfront. He’s also a big proponent of local control of education, having gained a unique perspective in his extensive service in the Vancouver school district.
A Public Servant of SW Washington
Park began his public service to Vancouver over 20 years ago, eventually serving as both the Vice President of the Evergreen School District as well as the PTA President as a parent with two children in the district. He was the first male president in almost fifty years, and his sales background helped the schools increase fundraising efforts by over 6x annually. He believes in the importance of community and business partnerships in supporting the entire educational system, which he has personally led and seen enable the successes of its students.
Park also became involved with the Evergreen School District Foundation, which provides scholarships for students, funding innovative teacher grants, and helping to kickstart financial resources for homeless and low-income students. Park was integral in developing the back-to-school supply drive Stuff the Bus, as well as the Williamsburg Teacher professional development grant in Williamsburg, VA, and a technology grant in association with local Vancouver creative tablet design company Wacom.
A Musician, Family Man, and Friendly Neighbor
As an accomplished pianist playing since age 6, Park has been fortunate to serve as Pianist for Beverly’s at the Coeur d’ Alene Resort Hotel, and Assistant Music Director for Holland America Cruise Lines in the Caribbean in the late eighties. Naturally, this led to Park’s other proud community involvement as a board member with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Maestro Salvador Brotons, and he served as fundraising lead there for four years. He continues to play at local venues, as well as volunteer performances for retirement homes in and around Vancouver.
Park grew up primarily in Reno, NV, and Coeur D’ Alene, ID with two adopted sisters from Korea, not blood-related. After graduating from Coeur d’ Alene High School, he attended college at North Idaho College and studied piano performance and architecture. He later did continuation course work at Clark College and Western Seminary.
He met his wife Andrea Pinson, a lifelong and third-generation Vancouver resident, and they married in 1996. They have two children Ellie and Evan Llafet, who both graduated from Mt. View High School. Ellie graduates this spring 2020 from the University of Washington with a degree in English. His son attends the University of Southern California as a double major in Voice and Violin.
A tireless enthusiast for life, Park enjoys mountain climbing, golf, gardening, cooking, and playing the piano- of course! He loves his kid – including his wider family of kids who attend school at the Vancouver school district. But there is nothing that brings Park as much joy as serving his local community. The reward comes in the happiness and success of others and paying forward kindness and opportunity.
Park knows that for his fellow community and families in the district, they must carve their own identity while being both a good neighbor to Portland and retaining their individuality apart from Seattle.
Park for State Representative
Stand with Park as he honors the rich history of Fort Vancouver and SW Washington by fighting for your voice to be heard. With your vote, we will bring back this heritage of bravery and opportunity to our beloved communities.
You can contact Park by calling or emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org