|BPSOS Gala Honorary Co-Chairs|
Senator John Cornyn, III * Fmr. Congressman Anh Joseph Cao * Ambassador Grover Joseph Rees, III (ret.) * Kieu Chinh * Congressman Christopher Smith * Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren * Congressman Mike Honda * Congressman Christopher Van Hollen, Jr. * Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee * Prof. Charles Cuong Nguyen * Congresswoman Judy Chu * Congressman Al Green * Congressman Frank Wolf * Prof. Viet Dinh
John Cornyn, III is the Junior United States Senator for Texas, serving since 2003. In 2008, Texans overwhelmingly re-elected Senator John Cornyn to represent them for a second six-year term in the U.S. Senate. Sen. Cornyn was first elected to the Senate in 2002 and previously served in Texas as a district judge, a member of the Texas Supreme Court, and as Texas Attorney General.
Anh Joseph Cao, the former U.S. Representative for Louisiana's 2nd congressional district, serving from 2009 until 2011, is the first Vietnamese American, as well as the first native of Vietnam, to serve in US Congress, and the first Republican to serve in his district since 1891. He served in office from 2009 to 2011. In April 2011, he announced that he would be a candidate for Attorney General of Louisiana in 2011.
Amb. Grover Joseph Rees, III (ret.), a Louisiana lawyer, is the the first United States ambassador to the Democratic Republic of East Timor. He is a strong defender of human rights in foreign policy. From 1995 to 2001, he was the staff director and chief counsel of the U.S. House Subcommittee on International Operations and Human Rights, playing a major role in the drafting and enactment of important human rights legislation including the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, the International Religious Freedom Act, and the Torture Victims Relief Act. Ambassador Rees also formerly served as General Counsel of the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service (1991-93), as Chief Justice of the High Court of American Samoa (1986-1991), and as Special Counsel to the Attorney General of the United States (1985-86). Prior to his work in Washington, he was a law professor at University of Texas School of Law.
Kieu Chinh began her acting career in Vietnam, starting with a starring role in The Bells of Thien Mu Temple. In her best known role, she starred as Suyuan, one of the women in Wayne Wang’s The Joy Luck Club. In 2005, Kieu Chinh starred in Journey from the Fall, an epic feature film tracing a Vietnamese family through the aftermath of the fall of Saigon. A passionate advocate for immigrant and women issues, she spoke around the country on women empowerment, volunteered during the boat people crisis, and served as a messenger for the Census Bureau consecutively for the last three Census campaigns. She is also a philanthropist whose work has been focused on building schools through Vietnam Children’s Fund.
Christopher Henry Smith is the U.S. Representative for New Jersey's 4th congressional district, serving since 1981. Currently in his 16th term, Smith currently serves as a senior member on the Foreign Affairs Committee, and is chairman of its Africa, Global Health and Human Rights Subcommittee. He is also chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and has served on the Congressional-Executive Commission on China. He is a co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Vietnam. He is the author of America’s three landmark anti-human trafficking laws including The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, a comprehensive law designed to prevent modern-day slavery, protect victims, and enhance civil and criminal penalties against traffickers.
Zoe Lofgren is the U.S. Representative for California's 16th congressional district, serving since 1995. Her district includes San Jose, home to the largest Vietnamese American population (per city) outside of Vietnam She serves on the Judiciary Committee and is the chair of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law. In April 2011, she became the first member of Congress to call for federal investigation into the Secure Communities deportation program. She is also a leader of the Congressional Caucus on Vietnam.
Michael Makoto Honda is an American Democratic Party politician. He currently serves as the U.S. Representative for California's 15th congressional district, encompassing western San Jose and Silicon Valley. He was also the former Chairperson of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus and House Democratic Senior Whip. He has been serving since 2001. Honda’s legislative efforts have focused on education, civil rights, national service, immigration, transportation, the environment, and high-tech issues.
Christopher Van Hollen, Jr. is the U.S. Representative for Maryland's 8th congressional district, serving since 2003. Van Hollen was elected by his colleagues in 2010 to serve as the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee. The Washington Post named Chris Van Hollen one of “10 members to watch in the 112th Congress.”
Sheila Jackson Lee is serving her ninth term as a member of the United States House of Representatives. She represents the 18th Congressional District of Texas, centered in Houston, which is the energy capital of the world. She has been hailed by Ebony magazine as one of the "100 Most Fascinating Black Women of the 20th Century."
Charles Cuong Nguyen is a researcher, educator, administrator and presidential appointee. He is currently Dean of School of Engineering and Professor at the Catholic University of America (CUA). Elected Dean in 2001, he has been the first Vietnamese American Dean of a college at a major university in the U.S. He has also been the first Asian American dean at Catholic University in the history of the university. In May 2004 he was appointed by President Bush to serve on the Board of Directors of the Vietnam Education Foundation (VEF) and went to Vietnam to represent the United States in working with high-ranking Vietnamese officials in the area of educational exchange between the two countries.
Judy Chu is the U.S. Representative for California's 32nd congressional district, serving since 2009. She is the first Chinese American woman ever elected to the U.S. Congress. Chu was previously Chair of the California Board of Equalization, representing the 4th District. She had also served on the Garvey Unified School District Board of Education, the Monterey Park City Council (with terms as mayor) and the California State Assembly.
Al Green is the U.S. Representative from Texas' 9th Congressional district. As a veteran civil rights advocate, he has dedicated his life to fighting for those in society whose voices, too often, are not heard. Congressman Green's chief legislative priorities for the 112th Congress are rebuilding the American economy and stabilizing our housing market. He serves on the Financial Services Committee, where he sits on two sub-committees; Domestic Monetary Policy and Technology as well as Capital Markets and Government Sponsored Enterprises. He remains committed to increasing the levels of affordable housing and ensuring that every American realizes the dream of homeownership.
Frank Wolf is the most senior of the 11 members of the House of Representatives from Virginia. He is currently serving his 16th term in Congress. Congressman Wolf sits on the powerful House Appropriations Committee, where he is the Chairman on the Commerce-Justice-Science subcommittee. He also serves on the Transportation and Housing and Urban Development and State and Foreign Operations subcommittees. In addition, he is the co-chairman of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, a bipartisan organization made up of more than 200 Members of Congress who work together to raise awareness about international human rights issues.
Viet D. Dinh is Professor of Law and Co-Director of Asian Law and Policy Studies at the Georgetown University Law Center. Dinh was U.S. Assistant Attorney General for Legal Policy from 2001 to 2003. As the official responsible for federal legal policy, Dinh helped develop initiatives to reduce demand for illicit drugs, eliminate racial profiling in federal law enforcement, protect children from exploitation, combat human trafficking, develop DNA technology, reduce gun violence, and reform civil and criminal justice procedures. Dinh also represented the Department of Justice in selecting and confirming federal judges, contributing to the appointment of 100 district judges and 23 appellate judges during his tenure.
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