New to Southwest Washington
In 2018, my wife and I brought our family to a brand new neighborhood in the northwest corner of Camas, WA. We were elated to become part of a new community full of potential and new beginnings. My long time friend, Steve, told me once that you should choose where you live based on where you would like you kids to grow up. That was wise advice and we have been very happy with our choice. Over the next few decades, Southwest Washington, and especially Clark County, will continue to grow as a pleasant and vibrant home to several urban, suburban and rural communities. I will contribute to that growth as the founder of small tech-startup that aspires to be a large tech-enterprise. But also, I am seeking to be your next State Senator from the 18th Legislative District and contribute a fresh perspective and honest legislating that works for you, not the highest donor.
Brief Professional Biography
Work Experience: Founder/CEO Thoughtkeg Application Services Corporation, Hospital IT Directory, Enterprise Software Consultant, Software Engineer, Deckhand Salmon Tendering/Halibut Long-lining
Education: Healthcare MBA, Oregon Health and Sciences University, 2020. BA Philosophy, Swarthmore College, 1998. Full Stack Web Development, Ethical Hacking, Project Management.
Community Service: Prototyped “Appeals Assist”, App that helps patients fight insurance claim denials. Developed Phase One Winner – Moving Health Data Forward Challenge entry helping patients securely control their health data. Prototyped Choosing Care Challenge entry helping patients select convenient, quality healthcare services.
Like most people, I am not a millionaire. I am not a celebrity. I am not a political insider. I am just a hardworking person, born of humble means.
I know how difficult it is to find quality childcare when you are a single parent making minimum wage because I watched my mother, a Korean immigrant, struggled to support the both of us on the money she earned cleaning hotel rooms during the day and waiting tables at night.
I understand how drug and alcohol abuse disrupts families because my father’s addictions destroyed my parent’s marriage and made it difficult for him to be a good parent.
I know of the predicament that grandparents are put in when they have to raise their children’s children because my grandmother raised me when neither my mother nor my father could.
School was my refuge when my home life was in turmoil. I changed schools multiple times while I moved back and forth between my mother, father, and grandmother’s homes. I moved so many times between the first and third grades that I enrolled in five different schools.
I know how important quality public schools with energetic and capable teachers are to a child’s intellectual and emotional development. It was my fifth grade teacher, Mr. Bly, who saw something special in my desire to learn and nominated me for the Gifted and Talented program.
My perfect grade point average during the fifth and sixth grades put me on the advanced academic track. Yet when I changed schools again and was bussed cross-town, my new peers teased me about my thrift store clothes and for getting reduced-price lunches. In time, my academic performance began to suffer.
Just as things were getting worse at school, they got worse at home too. I moved back in with my father who had gotten deeper into drugs. And there were some violent episodes that hurt physically and emotionally.
Eventually, I moved to Alaska to live with my Mother and her boyfriend Dan in Alaska. Dan, a former Navy-Seal, fulfilled one of his life-long dreams of living in a cabin in the Alaskan woods. It was hard to get used to the harsh winters and moose coming up to the door, at first. But in time, I learned to love fishing for salmon and hunting grouse on Kenai Peninsula. I also gained a real appreciation for the beauty of the natural world by seeing the majestic mountains and pristine rivers teeming with fish that surrounded me.
The birth of my little sister rounded out our family. For the first time in a long time, my life was stable. I went to a small school and made great lifelong friends. I could focus on being a kid. I promised to never forget about kids who never got to have a stable family, like I eventually did.
As a teenager, I worked my first job for a great man named Mike Tolva on his boat, the Farrar Sea, tendering salmon and long-lining for halibut. I spent a couple summers working the long hours, and actually became a decent deckhand. Like Mr. Bly years before, Mike believed that I had potential and helped Dan and my mom send me to summer college at Harvard University when I was sixteen.
During my senior year of high school, I was elected to be the student representative to the Kenai Peninsula Board of Education. I was also a captain of the varsity basketball team and student body president.
Hard work and the support of others paid off when I was offered admission at Swarthmore College, one of the nation’s most competitive colleges. The challenge was figuring out how to afford the hefty price tag. My mother and Dan were committed to making sure that I was able to take advantage of this opportunity, but without financial aid from the Federal government and Swarthmore itself, attending this elite institution would have been impossible.
In the summer before college started, I received a phone call from Swarthmore’s Dean of Students, Ngina Lythcott. She told me that I was selected to be a Phillip K. Evans Scholar, which meant that I would receive additional financial assistance and summer stipends to work on unique projects in my interests, philosophy and psychology.
From Swarthmore, I graduated with a degree in philosophy and entered a graduate program in philosophy at Arizona State University. I decided to leave Arizona and get a job because I felt too disconnected from the real world and I had become disenchanted with academia. Being a techno-wiz ever since my mother bought me my first computer when I was eight, I built a computer from scratch and learned several programming languages and database theory on it. Ultimately, I used that knowledge to land my first programming job near Silicon Valley.
As a software engineer, my job, application integration, was to help different computer systems talk to each other like how a plumber connect different water systems. My employer was a large healthcare system, and I was tasked in connecting many disparate systems. As my skill set grew, I became a software consultant where I assisted other enterprise organizations with automation and integration.
Eventually, one of my clients, a mid-sized hospital in Southern California, offered me a management position to run a growing IT team. See the many sides of the inner workings of a hospital was just fascinating and it made me proud to serve a larger mission in healthcare. I was eventually tasked with developing a patient portal that was certified and successfully used to attest for “meaningful use”.
With this new found passion for healthcare technology and especially empowering patients to use their health data to benefit their care, I ventured out to launch a startup. The challenges of starting a new business in healthcare technology motivated me to study the business of healthcare itself. I was accepted into Oregon Health and Sciences University’s Healthcare MBA program. In the program, I was able to dive deeply into understanding steep challenges in reforming healthcare to improve quality and lower prices to patients. With healthcare costs weighing heavily on our economy, there is a real opportunity to make a positive difference from the state senate. And so, I launched this campaign…