Mark Keam

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Summary

Current Position: State Delegate since 2010
Affiliation: Democrat

In 2009, Mark became the first Asian-born immigrant and the first Korean American elected to any state-level office in Virginia. Since then, voters in the 35th District have returned Mark to Richmond for additional two-year terms.

Over the past decade, Mark has authored dozens of state laws that impact the quality of life for Virginians, such as improving public education and healthcare, creating innovative tech sector and environmental jobs, supporting military veterans and public safety, reforming tax codes and business regulations, and providing more government transparency, accountability, and efficiency.

Featured video: This interview was conducted by Kerrie Thompson in the Fairfax Regional Library in the Fall of 2019. Original interview recording has not been edited in any way.

About

Mark Keam

Source: Campaign page

Delegate Mark L. Keam is a member of the Virginia House of Delegates, which is considered the oldest law-making body in the New World, meeting continuously since 1619.

His legislative district is entirely within Fairfax County, and includes 85,000 residents living in the neighborhoods of McLean, Tysons, Dunn Loring, Town of Vienna, Oakton, Penderbrook, and Fair Oaks.

In 2009, Mark became the first Asian-born immigrant and the first Korean American elected to any state-level office in Virginia. Since then, voters in the 35th District have returned Mark to Richmond for additional two-year terms.

Over the past decade, Mark has authored dozens of state laws that impact the quality of life for Virginians, such as improving public education and healthcare, creating innovative tech sector and environmental jobs, supporting military veterans and public safety, reforming tax codes and business regulations, and providing more government transparency, accountability, and efficiency.

A recognized leader on technology and innovation issues in the General Assembly, Mark serves on the House Commerce & Labor Committee, Finance Committee, Education Committee, and Agriculture, Chesapeake & Natural Resources Committee.

He is a member of the special Joint Subcommittee on Coastal Flooding and the Joint Subcommittee to Evaluate Tax Preferences. As a co-chair of the Virginia Legislative Tourism Caucus, Mark also works with the Fairfax County Sports Tourism Task Force.

Mark maintains a reputation as an effective bipartisan policymaker and has received awards and recognitions from a wide spectrum of organizations, including Virginia Chamber of Commerce, Tysons Regional Chamber of Commerce, Virginia Education Association, League of Conservation Voters, The Sierra Club, Humane Society, and Commissioners of the Revenue Association of Virginia.

Professionally, Mark has three decades of experiences in both the private and public sectors. On the commercial side, Mark has been an entrepreneur, an in-house counsel with a Fortune 15 technology company, the head of a national Asian American chamber of commerce, and an independent business consultant.

As a member of the bar in two states, he has practiced law in the executive and legislative branches of federal and local governments, including serving as chief counsel to a United States Senate Assistant Leader.

Active in the community, Mark has helped start or worked with dozens of nonprofit organizations that focus on his passions, including civic engagement, serving immigrants and minorities, developing youth leadership, and promoting literacy and lifelong learning.

He currently serves on the boards of Virginia Literacy Foundation, University of Virginia’s Thomas C. Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership, George Mason University’s Virginia Serious Game Institute, Northern Virginia Community College Educational Foundation, New American Leaders, Asian Pacific Islander American Health Forum, and Asian Americans Advancing Justice AAJC.

Mark is a member of Rotary Club of Vienna, Optimist Club of Greater Vienna, Tysons Regional Chamber of Commerce, Vienna Business Association, McLean Citizens Association, Leadership Greater Washington, Vienna Arts Society, Historic Vienna, Inc., and Vienna Presbyterian Church.

He is also active with the NewDEAL Leaders and BMW Foundation World Responsible Leaders programs.

Mark was born in Korea and lived in Vietnam and Australia before moving to America as a teenager. He received a political science degree from the University of California at Irvine and a law degree from U.C. Hastings College of the Law.

Mark and his wife Alex reside in Vienna and have two children in public schools.

Experience

Education

Personal

Birth Year: 1966
Place of Birth: Seoul, Republic of Korea
Gender: Male
Race(s): Asian American
Religion: Presbyterian
Spouse: Alex Seong Keam
Children: Tyler and Brenna
Membership & Affiliation: Vienna Presbyterian Church
Asian/Pacific Islander American Chamber of Commerce and Entrepreneurship
Fairfax County Democratic Committee
Fairfax Law Foundation, Society of Fellows program
Historic Vienna, Inc.
Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies
Leadership Greater Washington
McLean Citizens Association
National Asian Pacific American Caucus of State Legislators
National Conference of State Legislatures
NewDEAL (Developing Exceptional American Leaders)
Optimists of Greater Vienna
Rotary of Vienna
Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership
Tysons Regional Chamber of Commerce
Vienna Arts Society
Vienna Business Association
Virginia Literacy Foundation
Occupation/Profession: Attorney

Contact

Legislative Assistant: Meredith Nakayama
Administrative Assistant During Session: Sandra Boclair

Email:

Offices

Capitol Office
Pocahontas Building
900 E. Main St,
Richmond, Virginia 23219
Phone: (804) 698-1035

District Office
P.O. Box 1134
Vienna, VA 22183-1134
Phone: (703) 350-3911

Web

Government Page, Campaign Site, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Government Page

Politics

Source: Wikipedia

In 2009, Delegate Steve Shannon, the Democratic incumbent, did not seek reelection in the 35th district in order to run (unsuccessfully) for Attorney General of Virginia. Keam declared his intention to run for the seat. On Election day Mark Keam defeated Republican challenger James E. Hyland. He was sworn into office on January 13, 2010 at the State Capitol in Richmond, Virginia.

In February 2010, Keam and fellow freshman delegate James LeMunyon, a Republican, authored an op-ed in The Washington Post about their introduction of a bill to the General Assembly, which would attempt to make the voting records of General Assembly members more accessible to the public. The bill passed the House of Delegates 86 to 13 later that month. A State Senate committee carried the bill over for a year, and it has not yet been voted on.

He told a local newspaper in his district in January 2010 that he can legislate from an immigrant’s point of view; saying that “I want to be able to speak on issues where people say, ‘I’ve never met an immigrant in my life; I don’t know what you guys think about it,’… I want to be able to say, ‘Well, let me tell you what they think about it.’” He has also sponsored another bill which would raise the number of ESL, or “English as a second language” teachers in Virginia’s schools from 17 full-time positions to 30 full-time positions for every 1,000 students.

Keam said in 2010 that he would abstain from voting on any bill which would pose a conflict of interest due to him being on an unpaid leave of absence from Verizon Communications, and he would not introduce any telecommunications legislation to the House of Delegates.

Keam was re-elected to his seat in Virginia’s House of Delegates on November 7, 2017.

Recent Elections

2019 State DelegateArray

Mark L. Keam (D)17,19892.75%
Write-In (Write-in)1,3447.25%
TOTAL18,542

2017 State DelegateArray

Mark Keam (D)22,59692.9%
Write In (Write-in)1,7187.1%
TOTAL24,314

2015 State DelegateArray

Mark Keam (D)9,20394.7%
Write In (Write-in)5205.3%
TOTAL9,723

2013 State DelegateArray

Mark Keam (D)14,63264.6%
Leiann Kirkland Leppin (R)7,96135.1%
Write In (Write-in)610.3%
TOTAL22,654

2011 State DelegateArray

Mark Keam (D)9,63696.2%
Write In (Write-in)3833.8%
TOTAL10,019

2009 State DelegateArray

Mark Keam (D)12,60650.7%
James Jim E. Hyland (R)12,25249.2%
Write In (Write-in)220.1%
TOTAL24,880

Finances

KEAM, MARK has run in 6 races for public office, winning 5 of them. The candidate has raised a total of$1,055,840.

Source: Follow the Money

Committees

Committees

Commerce and Labor
Finance
Education
Agriculture Chesapeake and Natural Resources

Subcommittees

Agriculture Chesapeake and Natural Resources – Subcommittee #1
Agriculture Chesapeake and Natural Resources – Subcommittee #4
Education – Subcommittee #3
Commerce and Labor – Subcommittee #3
Finance – Subcommittee #3

Appointments

Flooding, Joint Subcommittee on Coastal
House Agriculture Chesapeake and Natural Resources
House Commerce and Labor
House Education
House Finance
Tax Preferences, Joint Subcommittee to Evaluate
Youth, Commission on

Voting Record

See: Vote Smart

New Legislation

Source: Virginia Legislative Information System

News

In the News

Virginia Explained: What does it mean to be ‘in the public interest’? And what does that have to do with offshore wind?
By: Sarah Vogelsong
Virginia Mercury – February 3, 2020

This year, Dominion is looking for an explicit legislative green light to build, on its own, what would be the nation’s largest offshore wind project off the coast of Virginia Beach, and recoup the estimated $8 billion cost from ratepayers.

On a 5-4 tally, the bill advanced, but unease from Democratic Dels. Mark Keam of Fairfax and Alfonso Lopez of Arlington showed not everyone is sold on the idea that such a project would be in the public interest.

Twitter

Videos

Interviews

Interview w/ Mark Keam

Speeches

Delegate Mark Keam on Lessons From How Virginia Passed Medicaid Expansion
ThirdWayVideo
Published on October 17, 2018
By: ThirdWayVideo

Delegate Mark Keam describes how victories in critical state legislative races paved the way for a major policy victory to expand access to health care.

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