James Lee’s political career began early with the founding of a Junior State chapter at Portola Junior High School in the San Fernando Valley in 1978. James went on to co-found the JSA chapter at Reseda High School, serving as regional convention coordinator, state debate director and state treasurer.
His interest in politics led him to graduate from the University of Southern California in 1987 and serve as deputy campaign manager for Pete Wilson’s re-election campaign for the U.S. Senate. He later served as state press secretary for Wilson, later becoming campaign press secretary in Wilson’s gubernatorial bid in 1990 and as deputy press secretary in the governor’s office.
He went on to serve as the California press secretary for President George H.W. Bush’s re-election bid in 1992, then serving as the communications director at the California Environmental Protection Agency.
James left politics to work for the global public relations firm of Burson-Marsteller in 1994, where he managed several worldwide accounts, leaving to form his own communications consultancy, The Lee Strategy Group, in 1999. He was elected to the Junior Statesmen Foundation board of trustees in 1998. He also serves on the boards of Public Communicators of Los Angeles, Public Relations Society of America and the Asian American Advertising and Public Relations Alliance.