Randy Cortez

"I graduated form the University of Hawaii - Mānoa in December 2010 with two degrees, one in Philosophy and the other in Philippine Literature. While pursuing my degrees, I served as Katipunan President in 2009. Towards the end of my undergraduate years, I was selected as a Fulbright-Hays Scholar and participated in the Advanced Filipino Abroad Program (AFAP), a nationally-renowned program offered by the program in summer 2008 to improve my language skills. As an AFAP participant, I was blessed to undergo three months of cultural immersion studying at De La Salle University - Dasmarinas while exploring rich cultures in Cavite, Manila, and Batangas.

After working several years in various positions including Legislative Aide to Senator Clarence Nishihara in the Hawaii State Legislature and Program Specialist in the Office of Community Services at the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, I elected to pursue graduate studies in law.

While a Program Specialist, the Philippine Consulate selected me as a Filipino Youth Leadership Program (FYLPro) scholar alongside other notable scholars throughout the country from states and territories such as California, D.C., Illinois, Texas, Washington, and Guam. FYLPro is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization of high-performing next-generation leaders that have a passion for advancing the Philippines and the Filipino people. FYLpro was initially established in 2012 by a Former Ambassador of the Republic of the Philippines to the U.S.A. Jose L. Cuisa, Jr and Mrs. Victoria J. Cuisa in cooperation with the Ayala Foundation Inc. to annually identify outstanding young professionals in the Filipino communities across the United States and provide the delegates with invaluable community, business, and government insights and access to distinguished network captains of industry and government.

In May 2017, I earned my Juris Doctorate from the UHM William S Richardson School of Law (WSRSL.) While at the WSRSL, I interned and worked at the: Department of the Prosecuting Attorney (first in their Trials Division and later in their Elder Abuse Division) as a Legal Intern, the office of Rep. Romy Cachola in the Hawaii State Legislature as a Legislative Clerk, and at the Internal Revenue Service - Associate Area Counsel as a Legal Intern.

Upon moving to Portland, Oregon, I briefly worked for Wells Fargo's Bankruptcy Division handling Chapter 7 and 11 bankruptcies.

I expect to start my employment in Fall 2018 as an Immigration Attorney at arguably the nation's largest immigration firm in Portland, Oregon. In the meantime, I am employed at the same firm as a Law Clerk assisting clients with immigration issues on a wide array of issues such as: Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), Consular Processing in the U.S., and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Naturalizations, advanced paroles, and deportations. Since joining the firm, I have assisted attorneys with drafting motions and appeals argued before the Board of Immigration Appeals and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. While most of the clients I deal with are predominantly Spanish-speaking I utilize my Filipino language skills not only to interact with firm staff based in Makati City, Philippines, but also with Filipino clients seeking legal assistance.

To help fulfill my mother's dream of operating an adult care home, I am currently pursuing a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) degree at Washington State University through their nationally-ranked and renowned online MBA program. I hope to finish by Fall 2020.

During my free time, I like to maintain strong connections to the Filipino Community in Hawaii. As President, I have led the Tekniglingz, a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to strengthening ethnic identity and cultural awareness through Filipino art, music, and dance since December 2016. The organization first came to fruition during my years in Katipunan, borne from the innovative and imaginative mind of former Katipunan President Gabriel Torno and his vision to maintain Philippine culture through a more creative art form. After several years as a UHM Registered Independent Organization (RIO), Gabriel Torno, Karen Nakagawa (former Katipunan Board Members) and I spearheaded the initiative toward establishing the Tekniglingz 501(c)3 non-profit. Truth be told, my invaluable experiences in the Hawaii Filipino Junior Chamber of Commerce a.k.a. Jaycees equipped me with the necessary leadership, administrative, and organization knowledge to lead the Tekniglingz.

In Oregon, I stay connected to the Filipino and legal communities through membership in the recently established Oregon Filipino-American Lawyer's Association (OFALA) and National Filipino-American Lawyer's Association (NFALA)."

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