Mark L. Keam represents the 35th District in the Virginia House of Delegates, which is considered to be the oldest continuous legislative body in the modern world, with roots dating back to Jamestown in 1619.
The District is entirely within Fairfax County, and includes over 80,000 residents living in parts of Fair Oaks, Penderbrook, Oakton, Vienna, Dunn Loring, Tysons and McLean.
In November 2009, Mark was elected to an open seat, thereby becoming the first Asian-born immigrant to serve in the Virginia General Assembly. In 2011 and 2013, voters chose to return Mark to Richmond for additional two-year terms.
As a legislator with a strong reputation for bipartisanship and effectiveness, Mark focuses on creating jobs, improving schools, addressing traffic gridlocks, reducing burdens on businesses, strengthening social safety nets, and making the government more transparent, efficient, and accountable.
Several bills that Mark drafted have become law in Virginia, including a tax credit to encourage “green jobs,” creating good healthcare jobs for military veterans and easing the transition process for military veterans returning home, providing property tax relief for elderly and disabled homeowners and penalizing sales tax fraud, promoting a new high-tech digital forensics industry, and improving the prisoner reentry process to save taxpayer costs.
Mark has also been the lead Democratic cosponsor of several Republican bills that have become law, including tax credits for high-tech research and development, promoting data centers for cloud computing, fighting abusive practices of "patent trolling,” promoting telecommuting options for workers, and making Virginia an attractive location for the film industries.
In the House, Mark serves on the powerful Courts of Justice Committee as well as on the Education, Finance, and Agriculture/Chesapeake/Natural Resources Committees. He is also the only Democratic House member of the special Joint Subcommittee to Evaluate Tax Preferences. Mark co-chairs the bipartisan bicameral Tourism Caucus and the Prayer Caucus.
Mark was appointed by the Speaker of the House to the Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission, which the General Assembly created to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. He was also appointed by the Governor to the Virginia Prisoner and Juvenile Reentry Council, which was established to improve the correctional system.
As a part-time citizen-legislator, Mark and his staff maintain a year-round District office in Vienna in addition to his Richmond office.
When the General Assembly is not in session, Mark serves as senior advisor in a technology company which he joined in early 2007 after twelve years of public service, in both executive and legislative branches of government.
For six years, Mark was Chief Counsel to Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Before working on Capitol Hill, Mark was appointed Assistant Chief Counsel in the Office of Advocacy of the Small Business Administration, and had also served as an attorney with the Federal Communications Commission’s Wireless Bureau.
Mark’s long history of community service extends to a variety of local, state and national organizations. Currently, he serves on the boards of the Virginia Literacy Foundation, the Fairfax Law Foundation Society of Fellows, and the University of Virginia Thomas C. Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership.
Mark is a member of Leadership Greater Washington, Rotary Club of Vienna, Optimist Club of Greater Vienna, McLean Citizens Association, Tysons Regional Chamber of Commerce, Vienna Business Association, Vienna Arts Society and Historic Vienna.
He is a former president of the Courthouse Oaks Homeowners Association and the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of the Greater Washington Area. A lifelong Christian, Mark worships at Vienna Presbyterian Church.
Mark was born in Seoul, Republic of Korea, as the youngest child of a Presbyterian minister. At age four, Mark and his family moved to South Vietnam where his father established a church. In 1975, they fled from the war when Vietnam fell to communism. They then moved to Australia where his father established another church, before eventually moving to America.
Mark received a political science degree from the University of California at Irvine, and had a chance to live in Falls Church, Virginia, while working as a college intern. After receiving a law degree from Hastings College of the Law, Mark returned to Virginia where he met and married Alex Seong Keam, also an attorney. The Keams have two children, Tyler and Brenna.