Overnight, the race for San Jose D8 city council seat just became exciting in the Vietnamese-American community. Email was flying all night long in various e-groups as Attorney Jenny Do mentioned her intention to run in around table discussion on air with Councilmember Tam Nguyen and Council-elect Manh Nguyen last night.
A long time attorney, she is well known in the community and the philanthropic crowd.
Besides her legal practice focusing in health care insurance and compensation, she founded the Green Rice Gallery in downtown San Jose. The gallery provided a venue for Vietnamese-American artists. She was the curator for many well-received exhibitions around the San Francisco and Greater Bay Area. These exhibitions are designed to promote Vietnamese American arts and culture, as well as to raise awareness on social issues in the Asian-American community.
She involves in South First Friday event to help promote downtown arts and culture in San Jose every first Friday of the month.
Her love for the arts also led her to run a very popular and successful wedding and special event design company in the Bay Area. She recently sold the company for it grew too big where she could not effectively spend time on her legal work.
She has been a strong advocate against human trafficking before it became a nationally recognized issue. She was a guest speaker at national conferences on human trafficking. Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (D) honored her with a special congressional recognition for her effort.
She also co-founded Homeowners in Action to help homeowners save their home against predatory practices by lenders during the housing crisis.
In her spare time, she is responsible for Ao Dai Festival where she produces an elaborate production to showcase Vietnamese culture. The bi-annual show attended by thousands of people and raised over $250,000 for a children shelter in Vietnam.
She served on the Art Commission of San Jose and is currently a member of the American Leadership Forum in Silicon Valley. The members of the forum include senior executives of hi-tech and biotech companies as well as political leaders like mayors of San Jose and Santa Clara County supervisors.
She also received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the City of San Jose in 2007 and the unsolicited Belle Foundation grant in 2005.
She is an Amerasian and her story of gaining acceptance and her search of her American father whom she never knew was featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show.
In San Jose D8, about 22% of the registered voters are Vietnamese-American.
It will be an interesting race and if Pattie Cortese decides to run, she will automatically be the front-runner. According to Pattie before she left for her vacation in Europe, she is motivated but her only concern is that she promised East Side Union School Board that if they chose her to be the board trustee, she would not run for office in 2016.