Pelosi Floor Speech on Legislation Naming Lim Poon Lee Post Office in San Francisco


Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke on the House floor this evening in support of legislation to designate the “Lim Poon Lee Post Office” in San Francisco to honor the life and achievements of the first Chinese American Postmaster. The full House is expected to vote on the legislation later this week.

“Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. It’s such a cause of celebration for all of us in San Francisco to see Lim Poon Lee recognized on the floor of the House of Representatives.

“I rise in support of the legislation to commemorate the life and achievements of Lim Poon Lee, the first Chinese American Postmaster in the United States.

“Today, the House has an opportunity to honor Postmaster Lee’s lifetime of public service and proud patriotism by naming the post office in the heart of San Francisco’s Chinatown, the ‘Lim Poon Lee Post Office.’

“Lim Poon Lee came to these shores from Hong Kong as an infant.  Like many immigrants, his family so loved this country and he spent his entire life in public service.  During World War II, he served in the U.S. Army as a counterintelligence specialist.  He worked in the Public Welfare and Juvenile Court Systems in San Francisco.  And Mr. Lee served as one of my predecessors in Congress and a friend to many of us here, Congressman Phillip Burton, as a field representative.

“In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson appointed Lim Poon Lee the Postmaster of San Francisco.  At the time, it was the highest federal appointive post ever held by a Chinese American.

“In this position, Lee transformed the face of San Francisco’s postal system by increasing the hiring of women, minorities and disabled postal workers. In San Francisco, we know the beauty is in the mix, and Mr. Lee worked to ensure while hiring that the post office looked like the rest of the city in terms of its great diversity.

“In 1977, Lim Poon Lee established San Francisco’s Chinatown Post Office; the post office located at 867 Stockton Street.  Today, we have the opportunity to name that post office for him.

“As we honor Postmaster Lee, we also recognize his family: his wife Catherine, his children Rosalind, Dorinda, Lynnette, and Chesley, and his grandchildren.  They helped make his success possible.

“As was mentioned by my colleague Mr. Lynch, Mr. Postmaster Lee passed away in 2002 at the age of 91.  His absence is felt throughout San Francisco. He was the Master of Ceremonies for the annual Chinese New Year parade, a columnist for Asian Week, and a leader on many distinguished boards and commissions.

“All who knew him — knew him to be a larger than life personality. All who knew Philip Burton knew that it took such a larger than life personality to be his field representative.

“I urge my colleagues to join me in paying tribute to the life of the first Chinese American Postmaster — by supporting this legislation naming the post office in honor of Lim Poon Lee.”

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