A local small business owner will run for the soon-to-be vacant Senate District 25 position in a self-described effort to bring new perspectives to Salem.
Justin Hwang announced his decision to run Monday, Feb. 3, as a Republican for the position that will be vacant at the end of the year.
“There is a need for diverse and inclusive leadership in the Oregon State Senate and in East County,” Hwang said. “Past policies put forth by the one-party supermajority over the last decade have created a more polarized Oregon — and I have the grit and determination to change that.”
If elected, Hwang would be one of the youngest members of the Oregon State Senate. The 35-year-old came to Oregon as an immigrant, and has lived in East Multnomah County since 2003. He started a successful chain of restaurants with locations across the region.
Hwang sits on the boards for the Korean Society of Oregon, Korean War Memorial Association, Mt. Hood Community College Foundation and Mount Hood Medical Center Foundation. He is also the chair of the Korean Day Association, and is a member of the Gresham Area Chamber of Commerce and Gresham Rotary Club.
“As an immigrant from South Korea and a small business owner, I understand the needs of both sides when it comes to issues affecting East (Multnomah) County,” he said.
Senate District 25 encompasses the communities of Gresham, Wood Village, Troutdale, Fairview and portions of Southeast Portland. The seat had been held by Sen. Laurie Monnes Anderson, 73, who will not seek reelection after she completes her fourth term in 2020.
Rep. Chris Gorsek, D-Gresham, also announced his intent to run for District 25 late last year.
“We need change now and it begins with change in leadership,” Hwang said.