|Sir Steven Hong|
PC MT MEC KRS KON KHK KPC
|Official portrait in 2012|
|22nd Prime Minister of Sierra|
December 16, 2008 – August 12, 2016
|Preceded by||Matthew Braggs|
|Succeeded by||Daniel McComb|
|Governor of the Gold Coast|
October 16, 2000 – October 16, 2008
|Preceded by||Vincente Posada|
|Succeeded by||Catherine Baldoz|
|Gold Coast Senator from the 12th District|
October 16, 1996 – October 16, 2000
|Preceded by||Brian Atkins|
|Succeeded by||Rosa Silva|
|Born|| Yila Steven Hong|
September 19, 1967
Monterey Park, GC, Sierra
|Died|| August 12, 2016 (age 48)|
Juno, PL, Sierra
|Children|| Daniel |
|Alma mater||Stanford University (MBA)|
|Profession|| Author |
|Service/branch||Santa Clara National Guard|
|Unit|| 126th Human Resources Company|
177th Brigade Support Battalion
|Revised Romanization||Hong Il-a|
| ||This article contains Korean text. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Hangul and Hanja.|
Sir Steven Hong, PC, MT, MEC, KRS, KON, KHK, KPC (born Yila Steven Hong, Korean: 홍일아; September 19, 1967–August 12, 2016) was the 22nd Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Sierra. Born in Monterey Park, Gold Coast, Hong studied political science at Stanford University and received a doctorate's degree in 1994. From 1996 to 2000, Hong represented the Gold Coast's 12th Senate District as state senator. He was elected as Governor of the Gold Coast in 2004 and tackled on policies ranging from transportation to public services. He ran for Prime Minister in the 2007-08 prime ministerial election on a Democratic-Republican platform and received 56.2% of the popular vote. While running for a third term in the 2016 election, he was fatally shot and wounded by Dylan Coulter during a campaign stop and party leadership retreat in the Plumas town of Juno.
As Prime Minister, he successfully steered Sierra out of the 2008 economic crisis, introduced reforms to education and healthcare, cracked down on domestic terrorist organizations, and continued support for military intervention in the Middle East. In foreign policy, Hong was a committed unionist and worked on maintaining firm relations with other American member states, as well as with allies in Europe and Asia. He was a leading figuring in counterterrorism and took a cautious, limited military approach in the Middle East in response to the ISIS and the domestic Army of God.
Hong was born on September 19, 1967, at the Garfield Medical Center in Monterey Park, Gold Coast. Both of his parents met and married in Korea in the 1950s. In 1961, the Hongs immigrated to Sierra in 1961 in response to the political turmoil their homeland experienced. His father, Hong Eun-Sik opened a convenience store in the city of Cerritos while Hong's mother, Yuk Myeong-Sun, ran a laundromat near her husband's convenience store. Hong was the eldest of the two; his brother Alan born in 1971.
From kindergarten to high school, Hong and his brother attended schools in the local district. Because Hong's parents knew little English, Hong learned English at school through an ESL program hosted by the district. Hong noted how "difficult" it was growing up as a young child living with first-generation parents who did had little English comprehension. He made friends with other Korean Sierran children at school and church where he learned Sierran customs and improved his English.
In high school, Hong excelled in his academics and graduated his class as the valedictorian. In addition, he participated actively in extracurricular activities including becoming treasurer of the student council, an officer in several other clubs, and a player in the varsity tennis team. In 1985, Hong was accepted to Stanford and attended its business school. In 1989, Hong graduated with an MBA.
While studying for his master's degree in business, Hong enlisted into the Santa Clara National Guard in the spring of 1986. He began active training the fall that year. After two-and-a-half years of service, Hong was assigned to the 126th Human Resources Company at Camp Sheraton in San Jose in 1988. After briefly serving as the assistant tactician to the company officer, Hong was reassigned to the 177th Brigade Support Battalion. After graduating from Stanford, Hong continued active service while searching for a job. In 1991, Hong was promoted to first lieutenant of the battalion and was distinguished among his company for his dedication and leadership skills.
He was honorably discharged in 1994 after low, sporadic activity. Settling down with his wife, Lisa, as well as his ambitions to join the public office, his life obligations interfered with his military service. Hong decided to end his service in the National Guard and consequently relinquished his position as first lieutenant. It was reported that had he continued service, even with his activity the same, his superiors were considering on promoting him to captain. From time to time, he returned to his battalion as a honorary member while in office.
Early political career
Hong first developed an interest in politics while attending Stanford. There, Hong became an officer of the local campus chapter of the Collegiate Progressives of Sierra. After graduating, Hong co-founded the Bay Area Progress Foundation, a grassroots advocacy group dedicated to social justice and assisting the local economically disadvantaged in 1992. That same year, Hong assisted in the management and organization of Melinda Peters' successful prime ministerial campaign. Peters won with 52% of the votes and was re-elected again in 1996.
Gold Coast Senate
Moving back to his home province in 1995, the Gold Coast, Hong expressed his interest in running in the upcoming 1996 election for the Gold Coast 12th Senatorial District (covering the cities of Cerritos, Downey, Bellflower, and Lakewood). He ran in the Democratic-Republican primary and defeated opponents Adrian Lamar and Carl Parker whom he labeled as "career politicians". Securing his party's nomination, Hong faced off Royalist incumbent Brian Atkins. Challenging Atkins' history of serving corporate interests and capitalizing on one of Atkins' secretaries' bribery scandal, Hong defeated Atkins with 59% of the vote.
Sworn in on October 16, 1996, Hong was assigned to the Senate Committees on Health and Human Services; Education; Labor and Industrial Relations; and Public Employment and Retirement. The first bill he proposed was subsidizing local construction companies to match up with the growing demand for infrastructure development. The bill received support from his party and the Royalists and was enacted into law the following year. In addition, he introduced a bill that would limit the size of public classrooms to 35 students, a proposal that was ultimately adopted in 1998. He sponsored and supported various bills that promoted economic growth, welfare reform, and tax relief for lower-income families.
Governor of the Gold Coast
First term (2000-2004)
His charisma, leadership, and successful tenure in the state senate garnered attention and impressed Gold Coast Democratic-Republicans. As early as 1997, there were talks within the party to select Hong as the party's nominee for the upcoming 2000 gubernatorial election. In 1998, Hong commissioned a research committee to investigate and explore the possibility of governorship.
In January 1999, Hong declared his intention to run in the Gold Coast gubernatorial election as a candidate. He defeated Porciúncula mayor Martin Santiago in the Democratic-Republican primary. Facing against Royalist nominee Robert Alvarez, Hong built his platform around promoting economic growth, championing education, and assisting the working and middle classes. Alvarez in turn attacked Hong labeling him as "inexperienced" and "naive" citing the fact that Hong, who was only 33 at the time, served only one term in the state senate whereas Alvarez had served as the mayor of Porciúncula for 12 years. In what was considered a close race, Hong narrowly won by 11,393 votes ahead of Alvarez.
On October 16, 2000, Hong was sworn in as governor of the Gold Coast and became the first Korean Sierran to hold such a position in the province. Entering the office with a Democratic-Republican-dominated legislature, he nonetheless filled his cabinet with individuals based on managerial capabilities as opposed to partisan ideologies.
In his first term, he faced a legislature divided between a Democratic-dominated Senate and Royalist assembly. He led a bipartisan campaign for government accountability and was dedicated toward increasing spending towards education and transportation. In 2002, he and mayors from across the province supported a bill in the Senate that would increase spending for homeless services. Hong outlined the "Ending Homelessness Pledge" which was focused on improving homeless shelters, providing more employment opportunities for the unemployed, and special attention towards the young and disabled.
Opposed to the death penalty, Hong supported and signed a 2003 bill that abolished the use of capital punishment in the Gold Coast justice system. Considering a "victory", he advocated sweeping prison reform focused on rehabilitation, especially for juvenile offenders, and addressing the Gold Coast's "chronic" recidivism rates.
Second term (2004-2008)
In 2004, Hong ran again for a second term and won the Democratic-Republican primary, defeating Mike Oshburn, a former Gold Coast Attorney General. In the general election, he ran against Royalist challenger Beatrice Gates and Libertarian Louis Garthaus, and won with 43.5% of the provincial vote.
For his second term, Hong was determined towards making the Gold Coast a more attractive province to conduct business in. Deviating from his party, he proposed lowering the provincial corporate tax, providing subsidies for small business to stimulate growth, and simplifying the application process for prospective businesses and firms. In 2005, he and the provincial legislature passed SB2553 and SB2554, which lowered the corporate tax rate from 8% to 5% in the former bill but closed some tax loopholes in the latter as a measure of compromise.
Hong also rallied behind implementing a new Gold Coast health insurance program that would require all residents to buy coverage at the risk of a tax penalty. Hong established a means test subsidy for economically disadvantaged individuals and families who may be unable to purchase adequate insurance. He and the Democratic-Republican's draft in the Senate was opposed by a divided Assembly where Royalists offered an alternative plan to the province's healthcare program. In the end, Hong and the Assembly Royalists brokered a compromise by lowering the tax penalty for those refusing to buy healthcare as well as eliminating several provisions he and Senate had proposed. On September 13, 2006, Hong signed the Gold Coast Health Reform Act into law and hailed it a "victory" for the province.
On the issue of same-sex marriage, Hong affirmed that he was strong supporter for LGBT rights and voiced interest in "challenging existing legal provisions" restricting marriage. On August 16, 2006, Proposition 22, a popular initative ballot measure that would allow provincial recognition of same-sex marriages, was presented to voters. After fierce campaigning, the proposition narrowly passed at 51%. Following protests and calls for a recount, the proposition still succeeded with slightly less voters in support of the proposition (yet above the majority threshold). Two days later, Hong ratified the vote and asked that the provincial legislature draft a law reflecting the voter consensus. On October 2 that year, the Equal Marriage Protection Act was passed officially recognizing same-sex marriages and replacing the old civil union law.
On December 2006, Hong was named chairman of the Democratic-Republican Governors Association, propelling him towards a possible run for prime minister in 2008. Around the spring of 2007, Hong formed a campaign research committee to explore the possibility of prime ministry. On June 12, 2007, Hong announced that he would not be seeking a third term as governor of Gold Coast but instead, run for prime minister. His term as governor would expire on October 16, 2008, which fell on the same day when the prime ministerial election would take place on. For the remainder of his term, Hong continued backing laws that would assist the poor and increased funding for education. In 2008, he proposed providing free college education at the community level for students from poor economic backgrounds, an idea that failed to pick up traction in the legislature.
2008 prime ministerial campaign
Formally announcing his candidacy for the nomination of the Democratic-Republican Party on June 12, 2007, Hong set out on his campaign by visiting universities, restaurants, hotels, and recreation centers in the Gold Coast before branching out to other provinces. Three times a week, he held an open questions and answers session where the public could ask Hong questions and speak to him. In August 2007, the National Conference of Democratic Voters (NCDV) straw poll indicated that Hong was in the lead with 34% of the votes. While actively campaigning and out of province, Hong left his gubernatorial responsibilities to Gold Coast Lieutenant Governor Rick Sherman.
Traveling around the nation by bus, his campaign emphasized on his successful career as governor of Gold Coast and his commitment to progressive ideals. Hong's history of participating in civic discourse as well as his childhood background was also touched on throughout his campaign.
Hong was among the first of candidates to air television advertisements for the campaign. Focusing on the policies and laws that he successfully engineered in the Gold Coast, the advertisements appealed to his leadership, values, and experience. Although emphasizing his progressive stances, Hong painted himself as a centrist and a moderate, distancing himself from issues such as marijuana and being more supportive of tax cuts for businesses compared to other Democratic-Republican candidates.
In the Inland Empire Democratic-Republican caucus, Hong was declared the winner, acquiring 36% of the vote, securing 51 delegates. He placed second in the Imperial primary and subsequently won the primaries in Orange, Santa Clara, San Francisco, Maricopa, and Clark. After winning the Gold Coast primary (receiving a total of 74 pledged delegates), Hong was deemed the presumptive winner of the party caucus on April 6, 2008. Five days later, after winning Laguna and Tahoe, Hong passed the minimum threshold of 250 delegates and was declared the official nominee for the Democratic-Republican ticket.
The general electoral phase began on April 20, with Hong facing off against incumbent Royalist Matthew Braggs and Libertarian challenger Joshua Kirkland. Hong's primary focus of the campaign was to support economic policies that helped the working and middle class, pull Sierra out of conflicts in the Middle East, and promote education and technology. His opponents asserted that Hong was a supporter for big government and that his policies were promoting "class warfare". After intense campaigning and a televised appearance at the 2008 National Democratic-Republican Convention, straw polls indicated that Hong was in the lead at 41%, ahead of Braggs by 5%.
In all four of the prime ministerial election debates in September, Hong's performance was well-received with his approval rating as high as 62% after the debates. With his victory clear, Hong concluded his campaign back in the Gold Coast, deciding to dedicate his final days of the election as governor.
The election took place on October 16, and Hong was declared the winner around 11:47 PM Pacific Standard Time. Garnering 54% of the popular vote, Hong at his victory speech, expressed his joy and vowed to uphold the promises that he had made throughout the campaign. He congratulated his opponents and the following day, Hong was invited to eat breakfast with defeated prime minister Braggs at the Getty House.
|Kingdom of Sierra|
This article is part of the series:
Hong's inauguration took place on December 20, 2008, the traditional day when prime ministers are sworn into office. In his first days in office, Hong spent his time familiarizing himself with Parliament and the royal family. With Porciúncula the capital of Sierra and the Gold Coast, Hong stated that he "knew to and fro" the political environment of the capital. Hong issued several executive orders and memorandums related to Sierran engagements in the Middle East.
The first bill he oversaw passed into law was a $45 billion project dedicated to funding 2 new nuclear reactors to decrease Sierra's electrical dependence on fossil fuels. His move received criticism from some energy activists who worried that Sierra's reliance on nuclear power was dangerous.
Hong made income equality a significant issue that he hoped to fix and address. Calling Sierra's widening wealth gap "unsettling", Hong supported measures in Parliament including increased taxes on the wealthy and improving job security and benefits for working and middle class Sierrans.
In 2009, growing threats of domestic terrorism from Islamic fundamentalists and anarchists became a key issue for Hong on matters of national security. While he opposed a controversial bill introduced in the House that would allow intelligence agencies to tap into phones of suspects without consultation of companies in 2010, he signed it into law. Furthermore, he oversaw a string of nationwide operations that apprehended and detained over 100 individuals in connection to the domestic terrorist group, the Army of God.
In the 2014 coup attempt, Hong's security was nearly compromised with the Getty House overrun by renegade members of the Army of God. Following a state of national emergency, over the course of a few weeks, additional arrests were made taking out prominent targets. In a tripartite Parliament, Hong oversaw a bill that increased funding for homeland security and law enforcement in an effort to curb terrorism and other security threats.
For foreign policy, Hong reaffirmed Sierra's relationship with Brazoria and the United Commonwealth, as well as other members of the Conference of American States. Refusing to believe that there was a "second cold war", he nonetheless believed that there be measures taken against China for its "aggressive trading techniques" and Russia for its "provocative foreign and military policy". He remained adamant over Sierra's sovereignty over the Los Pacificos territories, land disputed with the fascist Mexican government.
In October 2014, Mexico launched a missile attack that resulted in the death of over 30 Sierrans on the city of La Paz. Hong was widely criticized for his response to the attack as he failed to muster adequate reparations from Mexico. The incident marked the beginning of the Baja California crisis and Hong noted that Mexico became the "chief threat" to Sierra's security. He successfully resolved it by working with the CAS in blockading Mexican naval activity in the Sea of California, and forcing the Mexican government to concede, and pay for damages.
In January 2015, Hong announced his intention to continue fostering healthy relationships with current allies but to shift the focus towards expanding trade relationships in developing countries in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. Known as the "Pivot to the World", Hong hoped to assert Sierra's position as a world power and as a key player in international politics.
In June of the same year, King Smith II abdicated from the throne, transferring the Crown to Queen Angelina II, reigniting the issue of monarchism and republicanism. Hong voiced his continued support to preserving the monarchy, declaring it an "important institution" to the Kingdom and "deeply embedded in national history and culture". He also announced his intention to seek a third term as Prime Minister, entering the 2016 K.S. prime ministerial election challenged by San Francisco Governor Terry Scott and former Laguna Senator Joe Rapoport. During the election, he worked between campaigning and leading the country, trying to push for gun control legislation in response to several high-profile incidents, and environmental law reform.
Hong was shot and fatally wounded by Dylan Coulter at 3:59 pm Pacific Standard Time (10:59 UTC), on Friday, August 12, 2016, in the Old Sycamore Courthouse, Juno, Plumas. The Prime Minister died en route to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 4:12 pm by emergency care workers. Coulter has been apprehended by police, and captured on the scene, and is currently undergoing interrogation and criminal processing. According to a 38-page manifesto, Coulter's motivation for the attack was his apparent disapproval of the Democratic-Republican Party's "complicit monarchism" and for the progressive policies that the party establishment supported, most particularly, its "multicultural platform".
Hong's body was held in possession by the Sutter County Coroner's Office, which conducted an autopsy to verify Hong's exact cause of death. They later concluded that he had died from internal hemorrhage.
After Hong's body was examined and autopsied by the Sutter County Coroner, his body was flown to Porciúncula where it was prepared by a local morgue on Sunday, August 14. After discharge from the morgue, his body was in a coffin draped with the Sierran flag carried by a horse-drawn caisson, accompanied by state-sanctioned mourning pedestrians, uniformed soldiers, police motorcades, and a caravan of flower cars. State officials including many members of Parliament, ministers, governors, and members of the Royal Family, as well as Hong's family members and invited guests walked alongside the casket as it rode from the Getty House to Parliament Building. Tens of thousands spectated the funeral parade, and many more attended Parliament Building where Hong's body was lying in state. The public wake ceremony was open day and night, and under constant supervision by uniformed guards, who changed officers and colors every 3 hours.
On August 18, Thursday, six days after Hong's death, his body was carried out of the Rotunda and transported by the same horse-drawn caisson from that Sunday, and was led by Old Jasper, a black riderless horse to the Porciúncula Episcopal Cathedral of Saint Paul. His body was accompanied by all military units, with a platoon of the Marines 16th Battalion leading a drum line, beating in a continuous, monotonous rhythm. Many dignitaries including presidents, prime ministers, royals, and other global leaders were a total of 189 foreign dignitaries in attendance. One part of the parade generated controversy. As Hong's casket passed the Sierran Civil War National Memorial, it passed through an assembly of uniformed officers holding flags of all of the PSAs and territories. As the casket passed each flagbearer, the flagbearer dipped their respective flag out of respect. When the casket passed the flags of the Styxie provinces, they were lowered as well, breaking the longstanding tradition of the Styxer flags' ceremonial refusal to dip. Dipping the flag symbolized submission to the Crown in the eyes of republicans, and was the non-participation of the Styxer flags were honored by the Kingdom at all processions since the end of the Sierran Civil War out of respect and legacy. The dipped flags were publicly televised, and further inflamed republican passions back in the Styxie, where civil unrest was still ongoing at the time of the funeral.
Upon arriving to the Cathedral, his casket was carried by select PSA governors including Gov. Allison Perry (SJ) and Gov. Michel Stagg (GC) up the steps, and presented before Bishop Opeyemi Taiwo who delivered an opening prayer. The casket was then carried down the cathedral aisle by the Hong Family, before the casket was laid on stage. Rabbi Aaron Carlebach and Supreme Court Chief Justice Preston Brantly delivered readings, before Acting Prime Minister Preston Bolivar, and Smith, Duke of Cabo (the former king of whom Hong had served under), delivered their eulogies. The service ended with hymns sung by the All-Korean Heavenly Glory Choir, and then Scripture reading by Bishop Taiwo. Kevin Woo, a former pastor of Hong's childhood church, Monterey Park Korean Methodist Church, delivered the benediction.
Afterwards, Hong's body was for the last time transported by the caisson as it proceeded its way to the Sawtelle National Cemetery. The burial service commenced promptly at 6 pm (PST), and following an hour-and-a-half long service, the body was finally lowered into the ground at 7:46 pm, following Hong's wife, Lisa, delivering her final good-byes, and taking the flag off the casket. Hong became the fourth prime minister to be buried in the cemetery, with the most recent buried being Kovrov Stoyanovich in 2007.
RBS secured the rights to air the entire farewell procession, and transmitted coverage to international channels worldwide, accessible to over 88 countries, and viewed by millions at home and abroad.
On December 4, 2016, a little more than four months after his death, Steven Hong was posthumously inducted as a knight to six Sierran orders he would have been eligible to enter during his lifetime. His surviving wife, Lisa, accepted the honors on his behalf before Queen Angelina II. Officially, Hong is now posthumously referred to as Sir Steven Hong, and carries the post-nominal letters: PC, MT, MEC, KRS, KON, KHK, and KPC.
Since Hong's death, many impromptu and unofficial memorials were constructed in honor of him and proposals for a national memorial for Hong have received widespread support across party lines. Over 20 schools, streets, and parks have been renamed bearing Hong's name since his death, compared to the zero in existence during his premiership.
Hong was married to Lisa Hong (née McKellar) and fathered two sons: Daniel and Michael, aged 14 and 10 respectively. Aside from speaking English and Korean fluently, he could speak Spanish and had limited command in Mandarin Chinese. He played tennis, having played for his high school varsity team, although he also described baseball as a pastime of his.
Hong met his wife Lisa McKellar while studying at Stanford where they both were in business administration. Both in the same year and classes, they initially started off as friends, and the two developed a romantic relationship that continued after the two graduated. Hong proposed in 1995 while he was seeking election to the Gold Coast Senate and married on November 13, 1996, nearly a month after he was voted into office. They had their first son, Daniel, on November 17, 2001; and Michael, April 1, 2004.
An avid movie fan, Hong and King Smith I made infrequent visits to Hollywood at movie screenings, events, and even filming sets. He also wrote several books and an autobiography, documenting his journey and career.
Hong was widely noted for his occasional public appearance in his signature outfit featuring blue jeans paired with a simple blazer. He adopted this style while serving as provincial senator for the Gold Coast following a remark from an elementary school student that suggested he'd do so to be more like "average Sierrans".
Hong was self-reported "devout Christian". He went to a local ethnically Korean Methodist church when he was younger and continued attending church services at other congregations while in Stanford. During his time in public office, he was a baptized member of the United Methodist Church of Sierra.
Titles, styles, and honors
|Reference style||His Excellency|
|Spoken style||Your Excellency|
Mr. Speaker (in Senate)|
The Honorable (in Senate)
As the prime minister, Hong received the referential title of His Excellency. In the Privy Council and the Executive Council, he retained this title instead of the default Right Honorable address. On the Senate floor however, as the Speaker of the Senate, he was referred to as "Mr. Speaker" and "The Honorable".
Because Hong was not a person of royalty or peerage, and because of constitutional restrictions, he was ineligible to receive any domestic or foreign chivalric orders without the expressed approval of the Monarch. Consequently, he held no noble office that granted him additional titles to his style. His style, prior to his death, read as: "His Excellency Steven Yila Hong, Prime Minister of Sierra, the Right Honorable-in-Council, and The Honorable Speaker in Parliament".
During his time in office, Hong received no domestic or foreign honor, distinction, or decoration other than the Order of the Harmonious Kingdom, which he received after being inducted and knighted by Queen Angelina II in June 2016.
|Gold Coast 12th senatorial district election, 1996|
|Gold Coast gubernatorial election, 2000|
|Libertarian||Maurice Loyola Sota||480,033||5.72%||+0.56%|
|Democratic-Republican gain from Royalist||Swing|
|Gold Coast gubernatorial election, 2004|
|Sierra prime ministerial election, 2008|
|Democratic-Republican gain from Royalist||Swing|
|Sierra prime ministerial election, 2012 (First round)|
|Sierra prime ministerial election, 2012 (Run-off)|
|Independent||None of the Candidates||2,179,882||6.0%||N/A|
Hong published several books and academic papers, including one autobiography.
- Business Ethics and Principled Action (1989)
- On Education and the Future (1992)
- Civic Discourse in a Responsible Democracy (2001)
- Down the Han River: A Humbling Journey (autobiography; 2005, updated 2012)
- The Sierran Dream Reexamined (2008)
- The Social Government (2010)
- Simple, Plain Politics: Getting the Job Done with Hong (2014)