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In Recognition Of John Lee

Rep. Jackie Speier

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Mr. Speaker, I rise to honor San Mateo City Councilmember John Lee as he ends his 12 years of service to the people of San Mateo. John was first elected to the city council in 1999 and was re-elected by substantial margins in both 2003 and 2007. He is a 28-year resident of San Mateo and has been actively involved in public affairs on the San Francisco Peninsula for many decades.

John Lee served the residents of San Mateo County as a Board Member and Chair of the San Mateo County Transportation Authority. The authority makes tough choices about how to spend taxpayer money on public road and transit improvements. In his role on the authority, John voted on public improvements that speed the travel of millions of county and regional residents, annually. It takes a savvy board member to rank projects according to their merit and to resist the temptation to simply cast a vote to please a special interest. John had no trouble saying ``yes'' to the public's interest in all the votes that he cast.

Over several decades, John has been vigorous in community affairs as an active member of at least two Chambers of Commerce: Redwood City and San Mateo. Quite unusually for a person who also had a growing business, John Lee found time to serve as President of both Chambers of Commerce during his service on their boards. In his community service and private sector public policy positions, John worked on legislative affairs and membership development, and he could always be relied upon to work well with my office and those of any elected official.

John is a 31-year member of the San Mateo Rotary Club and has been a board member of Jobs for Youth and the American Heart Association. He has been a passionate advocate for housing the less fortunate in San Mateo County, and in his job as councilmember he has served as the city's liaison to Housing Our People Effectively (HOPE). He can be counted on to attend any groundbreaking for affordable housing, and has spoken forcefully about the need to house teachers, firefighters, clerks, and others who need affordable shelter, during his public and private sector service.

As a past board member of the San Mateo County Economic Development Association (SAMCEDA), John helped this public policy group nurture San Mateo County's entrepreneurial culture. He also was a cofounder of Telogy, a high technology company. Telogy eventually employed 450 persons with John serving as Senior Vice President of Operations prior to his retirement.

There are many characteristics of John Lee that mark him as a man of quite greatness, but I must close my remarks by noting John's devotion to this Nation through his 22 years in the United States Marine Corps. John served in both the Korean and Vietnam wars. He rarely raises his distinguished service to this Nation, but you can learn all that you need to learn about his devotion to America by watching him while he says the pledge of allegiance and listens to the Star Spangled Banner. A handful of people feel these moments so deeply that their eyes tear up. John is one of these amazing few.

With honor, in dignity, and at many times with valor, John Lee has served his fellow citizens over decades that spanned two centuries. Like other Americans who are local heroes, John Lee will be remembered as a strong, articulate man who exemplifies this Nation's quiet courage and great resourcefulness in the face of all challenges. I salute him upon his latest retirement, this time from the City Council of the City of San Mateo, California.

Mr. Speaker, let us always remember John Lee. America has been built by him, and by other men and women like him, who preserve this nation's liberty through their daily examples of duty to God, country and community. We are all greatly blessed by the contributions of retiring city councilmember John Lee, an American in heart and soul.