Spotlight: Meet Delegate Mark Keam (D-Fairfax)
This month DAAV highlights Delegate Mark Keam (D-Fairfax), the first Korean American elected to Virginia’s General Assembly in 2010. He represents Virginia's 35th District. His record accomplishments in the state legislature includes promoting public schools and higher education opportunities, as well as supporting small businesses and the region's entrepreneurs. Mr. Keam recently shared with DAAV about what makes an effective AAPI leader for our communities and beyond.
What do you enjoy about serving in Virginia’s House of Delegates?
The best part of my job is being able to meet people and to learn about their interests and concerns. I am constantly exposed to new information and new networks of people which helps me connect the dots to assist others.
What is something that you wish you knew before you entered office to do your job well?
I wished I knew Virginia and American history better. As an immigrant who came to America at age 14, I didn't have the opportunity to learn sooner, so I've been trying hard to catch up as an adult on what I missed through formal education.
What does leadership in public service mean to you?
Leadership generally means to act and to not ignore a problem when you see it, and to offer solutions in place of criticism. In public service, leadership means understanding the roles and limitations of government in order to best utilize the tools and resources of government to improve people's lives and society at large.
For others who wish to follow in your footsteps, what skill sets are beneficial in serving as an elected official?
Being open-minded and willing to meet everyone and listen to every viewpoint, even if I disagree. I also recognize my own limitations and know that I don't know a lot so I need to collaborate with others who are knowledgeable.
This spotlight is the first in a working series highlighting Virginia’s Asian Americans in elected office. Please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to get the latest news and updates from DAAV!