Tuesday, June 02, 2009

AIAW Endorses Mark Keam for 35th District HOD

In the 35th District House of Delegates race, I strongly support Mark Keam, and I proudly endorse his candidacy.

Mark has a compelling personal narrative. He was born in Seoul, Korea, where his father served as an Army chaplain deployed to Vietnam. Mark’s mother struggled to raise the family alone back in Korea. Then, during a temporary ceasefire, Mark’s father brought the family to Vietnam, where he established the only Korean Christian Church.

One April morning, in 1975, as Mark Keam himself described it, his childhood “abruptly came to a halt,” when he, along with his mother and his siblings, caught the first airplane they could out of Vietnam as the South Vietnamese regime was falling to the communists. His father remained behind to care for his flock and to ensure that as many of them as possible were able to escape the war torn country. As a man of the cloth, he was quickly imprisoned by the newly established communist regime. After months of negotiation, he was finally freed to join his family. Before coming to the U.S., Mark and his family also lived in Australia. So, he thoroughly understands the immigrant experience and has grown up in a multicultural and international environment.

Mark learned the lessons of sacrifice, responsibility, and caring for both his family and community from these early life experiences. After graduating law school, he immersed himself in public service for most of his young career.

He came to Northern Virginia and settled in Vienna, where he went to work at the Federal Communications Commission as a lawyer. He went on to serve as policy council to the Small Business Administration during the Clinton administration. Once the administration ended, he went to work for Illinois Senator Richard Durbin and served as chief counsel on the Judiciary Committee, where he fought the Bush administration’s rightwing agenda.

In 2007, Keam joined Verizon as a vice president and counsel to the Public Affairs, Policy, and Communications Department.

In addition, Mark Keam has been active in Democratic politics for most of his life. His love of politics began in 1988, when he served an internship for the Democratic National Committee and worked at that year’s Democratic Convention in Atlanta. In Virginia, Mark was one of the organizers of Fairfax for Obama and played a key role as a grassroots activist, who helped deliver Virginia for the first time in 44 years to the Democratic ticket.

As a delegate, Mark would concentrate on economic issues. With his background in the Small Business Administration, he would bring a wealth of understanding to the unique problems of small business owners and a commitment to solutions. Mark understands that two thirds of all new jobs are created by small businesses. They are the true economic engine that runs this country and if they do not succeed, then our economy will not recover.

Additionally, in an area where roads are jammed and commuting is a nightmare, Keam would use his telecommunications background to push for more telecommuting opportunities and flexible work schedules to ease rush hour congestion. He also will fight for Northern Virginia to receive more of its fair share of transportation and education funding from Richmond. He supports K-12 educational investment and is committed to excellence in our public schools. Furthermore, he favors use of alternate energy standards, creation of green jobs, and bringing state government buildings into compliance with LEEDS standards.

For all these reasons: His extraordinary personal story and background, his history of public service, his experience as a grassroots activist, and his vision of how to improve the lives of ordinary Virginians, I urge you to vote on June 9th for Mark Keam for the House of Delegates from the 35th District.

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