Ahn Hee-jung was born in Yeonmu-eup, Nonsan-si, Chungcheongnam-do(a.k.a. South Chungcheong Province) on May 1, 1965, as the third of five children. He dropped out of Namdaejeon High School in Daejeon-si due to his involvement in the Pyeongcheonha Incident in which he was caught on reading anti-regime paper “Pyeongcheonha,” published by Lee Chan-koo. The underground newspaper which was on a banned list was handed over by the owner of Jaeil Bookstore at the corner of Daejeon Downtown District. Even though he was transferred to Seongnam High School in Daebang-dong, Seoul, he decided to quit school.
After partaking in demonstrations staged against Kookpoong 81, he decided to go to university thinking university entrance would give him the leverage to actively participate in pro-democracy student protests. Nanam Publication, 48p. Aiming at university entrance, Ahn first passed the qualification exam and after passing it, he was admitted to Korea University in 1983. Since he entered university, he actively organized the Korea University Patriotic Students Association by merging fourteen student clubs of Korea University.
In 1998, he was arrested by the Agency for National Security Planning and was imprisoned for 10 months after being convicted of the involvement in the youth-led rallies motivated by anti-American sentiment.1977 Graduated from Gujagok Elementary School in Nonsan, Chungcheongnam-do, Korea
1980 Graduated from Yeonmu Middle School in Nonsan, Chungcheongnam-do, Korea
1980 Dropped out of Namdaejon High School in Daejon (Honorary graduation in 2003), Korea
1981 Dropped out of Sungnam High School in Seoul, Korea
1982 Passed Qualifying Test for College Entrance (equivalent to GED in the U.S.)
1983 Entered the Department of Philosophy, Korea University
1995 Graduated from the Department of Philosophy, Korea University
Starting from January 1989, Ahn Hee-jung worked as an aide to lawmaker Kim Deok-ryong of the Reunification Democratic Party. On January 1, 1990, Kim Young-sam led the three-party-merger supported by seven political leaders: Lee Ki-taek; Kim Jeong-gil; Jang Seok-hwa; Park Chan-jong; Hong Sa-deok; Lee Chul and Rho Moo-hyun. However, Ahn did not join the move as he was against the three-party-merger in principal so instead he led the efforts to establish a new democratic party in 1990. The eighteen members of the Reunification Democratic Party including Ahn Hee-jung chose to remain in the newly established democratic party.
And he worked as Secretary to Director General Lee Chul. As he became disillusioned with the negative sides of politics, he made his mind to quit politics. To further reflect on his decision, he chose to do daywork at the construction site of the Changwon Labor Welfare Center for two months. After Lawmaker Lee Chul took victory at the general election, he resigned as secretary and quit politics on April 4, 1992.
After quitting politics, he started new career as a sales manager of a publishing company. As he was disappointed by lack of conviction amongst the existing politicians, he returned to Korea University to continue his study for a new opportunity. Meanwhile, with Lee Kwang-jae, he worked as Director General of the Local Autonomy Affairs Research Institute in June 1994, to support Presidential Candidate Rho Moo-hyun, who lost in the 1992 general election. While working as a political aide to Roh Moo-hyun, the presidential candidate of the New Millennium Democratic Party, who won the presidential election in 2002, Ahn Hee-jung was credited for the successful campaign.1990 Party Executive of the Organization Bureau, Central Party of the small Democratic Party
1994 Secretary General of the Local Government Practice Research Institute
2001 Secretary General of the Election Camp of the Presidential Candidate Roh Moo-hyun
2002 Leader of the Political Affairs Team, Secretary’s Office of the Democratic Party Presidential Candidate Roh, Moo-hyun
In December 2003, he and Yeom Dong-yeon were indicted for receiving illegal campaign contributions from several businessmen. He was found guilty in an appeal court in September 2004 and was sentenced to one year in prison serving his term at the Seoul Detention Center. Ahn was concerned that his conviction might do harm to the President and declined any political titles during the participatory government to keep a distance from the politics.
While looking for a job after his sentence, Ahn found himself rejected many times. However, with the permission of Chairman Kang Geum-won he took the advisory position at the Changshin Textile. 2007 Chairman Kang nominated Ahn as the Chairman of the Standing Committee which organized the Participatory Government Evaluation Forum. In the following year, he made a vow to inherit the political beliefs of two former Presidents: Kim Dae-jung and Rho Moo-hyun, and was elected as an executive committee member of the United Democratic Party. After being elected, he took a leading role in establishing the Better Democracy Research Institute which inherited the functions of the Local Autonomy Affairs Research Institute.2005 Researcher at Asia Research Institute of Korea University
2007 Standing Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Participant Government Evaluation Forum
2007 Democratic Party Chairman of Chungnam Nonsan, Kyeryong, Keumsan Election Districts
2008 President of the Institute for Better Democracy
2009 Supreme Committee member of the Democratic Party
Ahn won the governorship of Chungcheongnam-do against Park Sang-don of the Liberty Forward Party by a margin of 2.4 percent in the 5th local election held on June 2, 2010. As a candidate of the Democratic Party (2008), he who was known for his inclination toward political reform won the local election for the first time as a liberal party candidate in the conservative voting region, whose victory was deemed a proof of his overcoming regional sentiments and made many people consider him as a future presidential hopeful .
Ahn was re-elected to the position of the 37th (6th directly elected) Governor of Chungcheongnam-do Province in 2014.
Ahn was considered the main darkhorse contender to be the Democratic Party of Korea's presidential nominee against frontrunner Moon Jae-in. His primary appeal was mainly as a young center-left candidate who was socially and economically liberal but held a centrist stance on issues of national security.
After finishing behind Moon and endorsing his party's candidate, polls showed that most of Ahn's original supporters started supporting People's Party nominee Ahn Cheol-soo (no relation).