Councilman David Oh, Minority Whip

DavidOhDAVID OH is a Councilman At-Large. David was born and raised in Philadelphia. He attended public school except for his freshman year of high school when he attended Christopher Dock Mennonite High School in Lansdale, PA. David graduated from Central High School, Dickinson College, and Rutgers University Law School-Camden.

David’s father, the late Reverend Ki Hang Oh, founded Philadelphia’s first Korean-American church in 1953 and served as its Pastor until his death in 2006. In 1958, David’s cousin, In Ho Oh, a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania, was murdered by a group of teenage boys while mailing a letter to his parents. In Ho Oh’s parents requested leniency for the boys and started a fund to help educate and rehabilitate them upon their release. Rev. Oh started a community service center in his name. In Ho Oh is buried at historic Old Pine Cemetery where his tombstone simply reads, “To turn sorrow into Christian purpose”.

David began his legal career while still in law school by starting a volunteer, free legal aid program. For this and other works, David received a Human Rights Award from the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations. After graduating from law school, he worked as a Philadelphia Assistant District Attorney. In 1988, David resigned to enlist in the U.S. Army. David graduated from Officer Candidate School and was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant (Infantry). In 1991, David was activated with his National Guard unit, the 20th Special Forces Group, for Operation Desert Storm (David was not Special Forces Qualified). The war ended before they were deployed overseas, and he was released with an honorable discharge. Upon returning to Philadelphia, David reopened his solo law practice in Southwest Philadelphia. Over the years, his office outgrew its space and moved to Center City. David managed his firm for 18 years and then, in 2008, merged it into Zarwin Baum DeVito Kaplan Schaer Toddy, PC.

David has been active in the Philadelphia community for over twenty five years. He serves on the boards of Nazareth Hospital, Tribune Charities, The Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians, Monte Jade Science and Technology Association: Mid-Atlantic Chapter, Nazareth Academy High School, Christian Street YMCA and Friends of the Korean War Memorial at Penn’s Landing. He is Chairman of the 82nd Airborne Division Association: Hajdak-Mokan (Philadelphia) Chapter, a member of the American Legion Rhawnhurst-Castor Post 754, and an honorary member of the Philadelphia Vietnam Veterans Memorial Society. David is a former board member of Community College of Philadelphia, Hahnemann University (PHEC), Walnut Street Theater, Crime Prevention Association, Greater Philadelphia Urban Affairs Coalition, WYBE Public Television, and First Commercial Bank of Philadelphia. David served on the Mayor’s Commission on Literacy, Philadelphia Police Advisory Commission, Educational Nominating Panel for the Philadelphia Board of Education, and Federal Judicial Nominating Committee for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. David is the Republican Ward Leader for the 3rd Ward.

David’s other awards include The Young Leaders Award from the Philadelphia Chapter of the U.S. Jaycees, Humanitarian Award from the National Conference of Christians and Jews, Public Service Award from the Fraternal Order of Housing Police, Special Recognition Award from 6ABC, and the Outstanding Service Award from the Pan Asian Council of Greater Philadelphia.

In 1992, David served on Mayor Ed Rendell’s transition team. In 1999, David organized Governor Tom Ridge’s trade mission to South Korea, arranging meetings with Korea’s President and major corporate leaders. With his election in 2011, David became the first Asian-American elected to political office in Philadelphia, thanks to very broad and diverse support from voters across the city.

David and his wife, Heesun, have three children, Hannah, Joshua, and Daniel. They live in Southwest Philadelphia on the same block where David has lived since 1963.