|Member of the Indiana House of Representatives|
from the 15th district
|Preceded by||Hal Slager|
|Succeeded by||Hal Slager|
|Born||Merrillville, Indiana, U.S.|
|Alma mater||Columbia University|
Chris Chyung is a real estate businessman who served in the Indiana House of Representatives from 2018 to 2020. Chyung was the first Asian American and was the youngest person serving in the Indiana House at the time.
Chyung was born in Merrillville, Indiana to Korean immigrants who worked as physicians in the local area. He attended Munster High School and later Columbia University, where he studied industrial engineering and graduated in 2016. After graduation, Chyung completed internships in New York and Chicago before resettling in Indiana and founding a real estate business.
In 2016, Chyung was spurred to run for office following the ongoing debate on immigration in the United States. In the 2018 election, Chyung defeated third term incumbent representative Hal Slager by 82 votes. This was seen as a surprise victory because internal polling had put Chyung behind Slager 54-37. Chyung faced Anti-Asian racism during his campaign and was frequently told "go back to China", despite the fact that he is Korean American.
During his time in the Indiana House, he proposed lowering the minimum age to serve in the Legislature to 18 from 25 in the Indiana Senate and 21 in the House. With Senator Mark Stoops, Chyung authored a bill attempting to ban conversion therapy for LGBT youth under age 18. Chyung called for increases in the state education budget, crackdowns on payday lenders, and support for affordable housing and housing vouchers for veterans. In his second campaign, he promised voters that he would not serve for more than eight years in office. In both of his campaigns Chyung did not accept corporate donations.
The 2020 election was again a race between Chyung and Slager, and was held during the COVID-19 pandemic in Indiana. Both candidates needed to practice social distancing in their appeals to voters. Despite an endorsement by South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Slager defeated Chyung on election day.
Following his defeat, Chyung was critical not only of his own campaign but of Indiana Democrat leader John Zody and defund the police messaging.
- Lange, Kaitlin (26 December 2018). "Meet Rep. Chris Chyung, Indiana's first Asian-American state lawmaker". Indianapolis Star. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
- "Class Notes: Undergraduate Alumni". Magazine. 2018-04-25. Retrieved 2022-02-12.
- Davich, Jerry. "A 25-year-old political newcomer in Indiana: 'I'm used to being the only Asian person in the room'". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
- Smith, Brandon (15 November 2019). "State Rep. Chris Chyung Proposes Changing Age Limits To Serve In General Assembly". WFYI. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
- Wooten, Taylor (29 January 2021). "Two Indiana legislators are fighting to end conversion therapy for LGBT minors". thestatehousefile.com. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
- Dolan, Bill (15 October 2020). "Race for 15th District a rematch for Slager, Chyung". Northwest Indiana Times. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
- Reed, Hannah (22 September 2020). "Chyung, Slager adjust campaigns for pandemic in Dist. 15 rematch". chicagotribune.com. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
- Carden, Dan (15 October 2020). "Buttigieg backing two NWI candidates for Indiana General Assembly". Northwest Indiana Times. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
- "Importantville: Indiana Democrats Remain In The Wilderness". Indianapolis Monthly. 6 November 2020. Retrieved 16 February 2021.