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Chang for Change

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Political participation amongst Korean Americans could be spearheaded by Mark Chang. As Congressman John Sarbanes of the 3rd Congressional District retires, Mark Chang has declared his intent to run for this newly vacant seat in the House of Representatives.

Chang has served in the Maryland state legislature for 10 years and works in various committees on matters of state budget, ensuring funding initiatives reflect the values of the people with visible impact across all districts. “I was appointed Vice Chairman of the Appropriations Committee in 2021 and Chairman of the Capital Budget Subcommittee in 2023.” He currently represents Maryland’s 32nd Congressional District in the House of Delegates.

Coming from an immigrant family from Korea, Mark Chang knows what it was like to grow up dealing with various cultural, financial, and language struggles. Knowing there was a growing number of others who shared similar hardships of the immigrant lifestyle, he knew it would only become more important to have voices in the government and law-making processes to represent their unique perspectives. While the situation of Korean Americans, and Asian-Americans in general, has certainly gotten better, Chang understands discrimination is still an underlying issue among these communities. As such, it is vital to have these conversations in order to shed light on what Asian-American and immigrant communities go through.

Not only does Mark Chang’s upbringing make him fit to represent the views of immigrants and their children, but his experience has shaped his skills and knowledge of state legislation procedures alongside relationships with the communities he represents. “I would say that [my time as a Maryland Delegate] has prepared me well,” he said, “and the reason why I say that is because my experience directly working with communities and knowing the people I represent, and their needs is what I believe has really helped me to get as far as I have.” Over the years, Mr. Chang has worked on various budget issues to ensure their responsible use on matters that would benefit Maryland in the long run. As mentioned before, Chang has served as the Vice Chairman of the Appropriations Committee since 2021 and as Chairman of the Capital Budget Subcommittee since 2023.

Aside from knowledge of innumerable legal procedures, what is arguably most important is a comprehensive understanding of both local and national issues. Chang understands this and has ensured he is kept up to date on present state and national events. “There’s schools and hospitals that are in need of funding,” he said, “and then there’s the devastation with the Baltimore Bridge collapse.” Experts estimate the port’s closure costs the city approximately $15 million a day, not to mention the hundreds that are forced to reroute everyday. Chang has specifically expressed his intentions to do whatever he can to assist in the solutions to this pressing matter, making a point to ensure Asian American communities are included in the discussion.

Robert Yoon (left), an 11th grader at Fairfax High School, and Mark Chang, a candidate running for the Federal House of Representatives.

When it comes to law-making, even on the state level, events on the national scale matter. Currently, some of the most prominent domestic issues are student loan debt, inflation, and racial injustice. When it comes to law-making, recognizing local matters is no doubt imperative, but being aware of underlying issues faced by the population at large means one can enact policies with the lessons of prior failures and successes. Mark Chang is adamant to implement whatever changes he can to alleviate the student loan debt crisis, curb the continuous rise of unsustainable living costs, and target unfair discrimination.

In a similar vein, a serious issue among Korean-American communities is their lack of interest in politics. Life can be busy with just balancing friends, work, and family, but the importance of contributing to our communities through political involvement cannot be understated. Over the long run, government officials and, therefore, their policies will lean to favor those who have a greater civil voice because of their greater political leverage. Chang wishes to put an emphasis on cultivating future Korean American leaders in public service. “I think that earlier on in the Korean American diaspora, many were just trying to put food on the table while dealing with language and cultural barriers,” Chang said, “but I think now that Korean-Americans, especially the second generation, are far better integrated than before; we have more bandwidth capacity to be able to get more involved.”

A well-informed and skillful individual in the fields of finances and legislation, Mark Chang truly believes in working for the people. His candidacy reflects this in his plans to represent the people, create new and improve pre-existing infrastructure projects, and his commitment to fostering new leadership.

하나님이 세상을 이처럼 사랑하사 독생자를 주셨으니 이는 저를 믿는 자마다 멸망치 않고 영생을 얻게 하려 하심이니라 (요 3:16).
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16 NIV)

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