GOP Involvement in 1981 In 1981, Dr. Lee and her family began hosting dinners and receptions at home for politicians and political candidates to meet local Chinese and non-Chinese voters.
Esther was active at the Bay Area Republican Women’s Club and became involved in the district and state conventions committees. Esther hosted several luncheons for the Bay Area Republican Women’s Club for fundraising purposes including a major event on May 13, 1981. She also spoke at one of their luncheons about Chinese immigrants. It seemed that the GOP club women admired and supported her only until she ran for Congress against another white woman, Dolly Madison MacKanna in March 1992. It turned out that most of the GOP club women were for MacKanna during the primary even though MacKenna was not a member of the club as Esther was.
Esther was inspired and empowered by some Chinese American leaders of OCA and OCAW while she was first involved in these organizations at the national level. By mid-1981, Esther started actively seeking volunteer (non-paid) federal appointments via her contacts at both local and federal levels in Washington, DC. She solicited her GOP friends’ support and recommendations during the summer of 1981. Soon after Reagan was elected, she contacted Sheila Wilkes, the director of Presidential Personnel Office of TX to express her interest to serve. Yet, nothing happened.