Meet Otto Lee. Father. Veteran. Small business owner.
Otto’s parents came from Hong Kong when he was 15 seeking the American dream. Working in their family Chinese restaurant taught him to work hard and be accountable, values he’s put to work ever since. Today he’s running for Congress to represent the people from the new 22nd District in Central California’s San Joaquin Valley.
Otto worked his way through college, earning his bachelor’s degree in chemical and nuclear engineering from UC Berkeley, then his law degree from Hastings and an LL.M. in public international law from Rijksuniversiteit, the Netherlands. Otto is the founder and managing partner of Intellectual Property Law Group LLP and a registered patent attorney, protecting the intellectual capital that fuels America’s innovation.
Upon graduating from Berkeley, Otto served as an ensign during the first Gulf War. After this initial active duty he continued to serve in the Navy Reserves, recalled to active duty for Operation Noble Eagle in 2003 and again in 2009 for Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Commander Lee was stationed at Camp Victory in Baghdad as the Chief of Drawdown Material Disposition & Policy at the Combined Joint Logistics Headquarters. He served with distinction, survived many close calls - including a mortar landing 90 feet from him - earning several medals including the Bronze Star. Otto is very proud to help plan and execute the largest drawdown since Vietnam, closing more than 200 bases and accounting for the disposition of hundreds of millions of material. He’s currently serving in a unit to defend seaports in South Korea.
Stateside, Otto has been active in city government for the past decade. As a member and chair of the Sunnyvale Planning Commission, Otto helped usher in an era of smart growth and downtown revitalization. He was one of Sunnyvale’s first Asian American city council members – and later mayor – serving from 2004
to 2012 and helping turn the city’s $14 million budget deficit in 2003 into a small surplus in 2007, maintaining the city’s excellent municipal bond rating of AA+.
Otto was extremely honored to be named the NAACP Silicon Valley Legislator of the Year (2011), Veteran of the Year (2012), Community Tod Dad (2012), and received both the 2011 Character Award from the Boy Scouts of America and Community Award from the Asian Law Alliance in 2010.
Otto is also involved in numerous community and non-profit organizations. He served as the board chair of ACT for Mental Health, a member of the Blue Ribbon Task Force for Nanotechnology, President of the National League of Cities Asian Pacific American Municipal Officials, a member of the U.S. Conference of Mayors Energy Committee.