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Mark Keam

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Mark Keam

Mark Keam
Member of the Virginia House of Delegates
from the 35th district
Assumed office
January 13, 2010
Preceded by Stephen C. Shannon
Personal details
Born (1966-05-10) May 10, 1966
Seoul, South Korea
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Alex Seong Keam
Residence Vienna, Virginia, United States
Alma mater University of California at Irvine (B.A.)
University of California, Hastings College of the Law (J.D.)
Profession Attorney
Committees Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources
Religion Presbyterian
Website .com.markkeamwww

Mark Lee Keam (born May 10, 1966) is a member of the Virginia House of Delegates in the United States. A Democrat, he has represented the 35th District since 2010. His district encompasses a portion of Fairfax County, including the town of Vienna, Virginia, where he resides.[1]

He was born in Seoul, South Korea and has lived in Vietnam, Australia and California, at different times of his life. He was formerly an aide on Capitol Hill, and was an executive with Verizon Communications until he left in 2009 to run for the Virginia General Assembly.[2]

Early life

Keam was born to a Presbyterian minister in Seoul, South Korea, in 1966. His family later founded a church in Vietnam, before fleeing when the country fell to Communism in 1975. After a brief time living in Australia, he and his family eventually settled in Orange County, California. To help support his family, he worked odd jobs, from construction to collecting shopping carts from a retail parking lot. He received a Political Science degree from the University of California at Irvine and later earned a law degree from Hastings College of the Law.[3]

Keam served as Senator Richard Durbin's chief counsel on the Senate Judiciary Committee from 2001 to 2007, when he left to join Verizon Communications as a Vice President and Counsel. In 2009, he took an unpaid leave of absence to run for the Virginia General Assembly.[2]

House of Delegates

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.[4] A State Senate committee carried the bill over for a year, and it has not yet been voted on.[5]

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.[3]

Committee assignments

Keam has served on the House committees on Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources (2012–), Education (2012–), Finance (2010–), and Militia, Police and Public Safety (2010–2011).

Electoral history

Date Election Candidate Party Votes %
Virginia House of Delegates, 35th district
Jun 9, 2009[6] Democratic primary Mark L. Keam 3,653 55.05
John F. Carroll 1,163 17.52
Esam S. Omeish 1,050 15.82
Roy J. Baldwin 769 11.59
Nov 3, 2009[7] General Mark L. Keam Democratic 12,606 50.66
James E. "Jim" Hyland Republican 12,252 49.24
Write Ins 22 0.08
Steve Shannon ran for Attorney General; seat stayed Democratic
Nov 8, 2011[8] General Mark L. Keam Democratic 9,636 96.17
Write Ins 383 3.82

Despite the landslide victory of Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell in the 2009 Governor's race, James Hyland was not able to take advantage of McDonnell's victory and was defeated by only 350 votes.[9]


  1. ^ Virginia House of Delegates Official bio, retrieved 2010-01-29
  2. ^ a b Mark Keam Campaign website, retrieved 2010-01-29
  3. ^ a b Garabelli, Veronica (January 20, 2010). "'"Keam Promotes 'Diversity of Views. Vienna Connection. Retrieved March 6, 2010. 
  4. ^ Keam, Mark; LeMunyon, James (February 23, 2010). "Let Virginians see how their legislators are voting". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 23, 2010. 
  5. ^ Martz, Michael (March 15, 2010). "FOI council helps public with open government act". The Richmond Times Dispatch. Retrieved April 5, 2010. 
  6. ^ "June 2009 Democratic Primary Official Results". Virginia State Board of Elections. Retrieved 2013-05-31. 
  7. ^ "November 2009 General Election Official Results". Virginia State Board of Elections. Retrieved 2013-05-31. 
  8. ^ "November 2011 General Election Official Results". Virginia State Board of Elections. Retrieved 2013-05-31. 
  9. ^ 2009 election results in the 35th district, retrieved 2010-1-29

External links

  • Mark Keam website
  • Virginia House of Delegates official Bio
  • Mark Keam on Facebook
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