Korean American State Senator resigns after Alzheimer’s diagnosis

January 8, 2014
Paull Shin

Paull Shin

Paull Shin, a Washington State senator diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, is stepping down.

Shin said in a statement Tuesday that he will no longer be able to “represent (his) constituents in the manner they deserve” on account of the recent diagnosis. “I have loved this place and the work we do on behalf of the people of Washington,” he added.

Shin, 78, was born in Korea and orphaned at the age of 4. After living on the streets of Seoul, he became a houseboy to a group of U.S. Army officers at the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950.

He was then adopted by an officer and dentist named Ray Paull, and studied in the U.S. He received a bachelor’s degree in political science from Brigham Young University and master’s and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Washington.

He was elected to the Senate in 1998 after having served in the Washington State House of Representatives.