INDIANAPOLIS — Many voters in Indiana House District 15, which includes Dyer, Schererville, St. John and Griffith, may know state Rep. Chris Chyung, D-Dyer, because he likely knocked on their doors last year while campaigning for office.
But word about the 26-year-old legislative wunderkind, who toppled a powerful Republican incumbent in the November election and is the first Hoosier of Korean descent to serve in the General Assembly, is starting to spread well beyond Northwest Indiana.
On Thursday, a reporter and videographer from the national Newsy television network traveled to the Statehouse to interview Chyung about his first full week serving in the Legislature.
Chyung this month was also profiled on the Korean-language News Magazine Chicago program, and highlighted in a Governing magazine article about millennials winning elected office across the country.
In between eating a quick breakfast and rushing off to a 7:30 a.m. Region time committee hearing, Chyung told The Times that he's grateful for the attention, in part because it gives him the opportunity to show the increasing diversity at the Indiana Statehouse.
"We have so many people of differing perspectives and backgrounds and age groups, so, you know, it's cool," Chyung said.
One thing Chyung said he always talks about in interviews with regional or national media outlets are the special characteristics of Northwest Indiana, which he hopes will make his legislative colleagues more aware of the Region's unique social and economic needs.
"Some of the big, high-profile things are the (Gary) casino licenses and the data center in Hammond, as well as other regional issues that are going to need a lot of educating the people from other parts of Indiana," Chyung said.
Chyung also is proposing measures certain to raise eyebrows among the conservative Republican House majority, but ideas for which Chyung believes the time has come.
They include House Bill 1231, banning mental health providers from administering LGBT conversion therapy; House Bill 1228, a study of cost savings if Hoosiers could import prescription drugs from Canada; and House Bill 1226, reviving the estate tax for Hoosiers who die with more than $2 million in assets.
"A lot of different issues, and a lot regarding health care, taxation, education," Chyung said. "I just want a fair state for Hoosiers."