Meet Paul Zee

August 05, 2000

Claudia Peschiutta

BURBANK -- As a girl, Jojoe Zee knew there was something different

about the boy who would one day become her husband.

Paul Zee was vocal.

"That's very rare for Asian young people because we are taught not to

talk too much," Jojoe said.

That's what made her parents and friends question her attraction to



That's also what made her fall for him.

"My friends would say, 'Why do you like him,' and I would say,

'Because he can really make me happy when he speaks,' " Jojoe said.

Over the years, Paul Zee has made his voice heard in the area's

Chinese-American community and on the South Pasadena City Council.

Come November, the 50-year-old Republican hopes to win the 21st state

Senate District seat and be heard in Sacramento.

Though born in Shanghai, China, Zee grew up in Hong Kong, where his

mother taught high school and his father manufactured protective gloves.

Following in the footsteps of an older brother, Zee came to the U.S.

in 1968 to attend Pasadena College, a small Christian institution that

later became Point Loma University.

But he returned to Hong Kong three years later, before getting his

bachelor's degree in business administration, to help his father, King

Yung Zee, with his expanding business.

"I did not really want to go back but, out of respect, I went back,"

Zee said.

Back in Hong Kong, Zee got to not only complete his studies but resume

his romance with Jojoe, his high school sweetheart.

The two married in 1972.

"At least, I got a wife," Zee joked.

After having their first child, Jean, Zee said he and his wife began

worrying about how difficult it might be for their daughter and future

children to get ahead living in Hong Kong.

"I started to talk to Jojoe about how good the U.S. is," Zee said.

After having their second child, Tappen, the Zees moved to California

in 1977 and soon settled in South Pasadena, where they have lived since.

They moved to the U.S. and started their own business, selling

protective gloves, Zee said.

More than 20 years later, that small business has turned into U.S.

Safety & Supply Co., a wholesale and distribution house with 20


The nation's political system also helped draw Zee to the U.S.

"This is a true Democratic country," he said. "Back then, it wasn't

like this in Hong Kong."

His first foray into American politics came in 1989, during a teachers

strike in South Pasadena.

Concerned about how the effort might affect local schools, Zee said he

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