Solomon Chen is a member of our Emerging Leaders Advisory Council. He grew up in the Bay Area before heading down to Southern California to study Political Science at Biola University. Solomon then moved to DC, and has since interned with the Hillsdale College Kirby Center and Weave: The Social Fabric Project at the Aspen Institute. He is currently a Falls Church Fellow, which is a 9 month Christian leadership and development program with Falls Church Anglican. He also works at the Philanthropy Roundtable in their Civic Education program.
1. What policy issues are you most passionate about and why?
I’m passionate about the policy issues of economic mobility, American identity, and faith’s relation to politics. My grandparents immigrated to America because it was the land of opportunity, and I believe America is still that place. I want to promote policies that can create those opportunities for as many people as possible. America is also unique because it is a country not based on religion or ethnicity but rather ideals of human dignity and freedom. We as a country need to wrestle with what it means to be “American” as those ideals are attacked and undermined. Faith is a very important part of my life, and freedom of religion is a key tenet to our Constitutional rights. I’m interested in how people of faith can be a positive influence in society and within our government.
2. Why are you a conservative? What drew you to it?
I believe government is the solution for a very select set of situations but is the problem for a very wide set. I’m a conservative because I believe the bonds of society which cause the strongest human flourishing are not those at the federal government level. The larger that the federal government becomes, the less space there is for neighborhoods, families, churches, and local governments to operate. Our Founding Fathers were rightfully wary of government expansion, and I believe wariness and patience are needed now more than ever in our political climate.
3. What role models, thinkers, writers, leaders do you like and why? (You can choose just one if you like!)
One of my favorite thinkers is Arthur Brooks. Arthur Brooks not only discusses the policy side of conservatism but also places a large emphasis on the heart side. A common critique of conservatives is a lack of heart, but Brooks is able to show how caring and conservatism go hand in hand. Brooks is also passionate about civil discourse and loving those who disagree with you. In this time of political polarization, our public discourse should be marked by a willingness to listen and human empathy for our political opponents.
4. What made you want to join ELAC?
I attended the 2019 Freedom Conference and was impressed not only by the speakers but also by the way topics were discussed. The Steamboat Institute is not afraid to wrestle with hard questions and I appreciated the openness of dialogue.
5. What are 1-2 goals you have in the next 5-10 years?
In 5-10 years I hope to be empowering people to feel seen by others and important to their communities. I see this professionally in a think tank/non-profit space and personally in my church, family, and neighborhood life.