By GWEN MURANAKA
RAFU ENGLISH EDITOR
“I’m not sensitive about my age, I’m happy to be here,” remarked Councilmember Jan Perry, who celebrated her 55th birthday in Little Tokyo, at a fundraiser held for her upcoming mayoral campaign.
Perry has represented the 9th district since 2001 and has become a regular fixture at Nisei Week, Cherry Blossom Festival and other community events, as well as supporting projects including the Budokan gymnasium and the Go For Broke National Education Center.
“For me, Nisei Week marks the beginning of summer, and I’ve had it ingrained in my DNA so much that it’s my calendar too,” said Perry.
Among supporters gathered in the garden room of the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center included Frances Hashimoto of Mikawaya Bakery, who provided special manju for the occasion. Perry was also serenaded by a quartet from the Asian American Youth Orchestra and teased by emcee Rodney Kageyama.
As she completes her final term as councilperson, Perry has set her sights on running for mayor in the March 2013 election. Others who have are said to be considering include Councilmember Eric Garcetti, City Controller Wendy Gruehl and real estate mogul Rick Caruso.
“I’m doing a lot of outreach, building support,” said Perry. “I think about what I need to do to win and focus on putting together a good campaign.”
Perry received special words of encouragement from actor George Takei, who said he had been playing a ninja master before the reception.
“She’s more than a friend, Jan is someone who can deliver for the community,” said Takei. “We want to make sure that she’s going to be there and she’s on the ascendance in her political career. We’re right behind you, pushing you.”