Vivian Tsai

Dan Germain
September 1, 2018
One Nation, Remembering 9-11
September 11, 2018

Vivian Tsai

Who first told you about JSA?

No one told me about it, I just noticed it at school. It looked like a really fun club. I remember a girl who was a few years older who was involved - she asked me if I would go to Fall State, and I did, and I was hooked.

If you could have lunch with any elected figure, living or dead, whom would you choose and what would you want served for lunch?

Diane Feinstein would be very interesting. She’s been in Washington a very long time. I consider myself a left-leaning progressive. I don’t agree with her on everything, but I’d sure love to talk to her about her experience in the Senate and in politics. And I’d have a salad for lunch. It’s what I eat for lunch every day. It doesn’t matter where I am, I get a Cobb Salad.

What is your favorite political movie and how many times have you watched it?

I love, “The American President.” I’ve seen that movie upwards of ten times. It’s not the real world, in such a good way. I love, love, love that film. A close second to that is “Dave.”

What is objectively the worst pizza topping?

For sure, anchovies. I will do pineapple on pizza, long before anchovies. Anchovies belong on a tuna salad nicoise, not on pizza.

If you had to give up google, your cell phone or chocolate, which would you choose?

Chocolate. Absolutely. I’m not a sweets person. If the choice was between google, a cell phone and Cheetos - now that would be a tough one. I’d have to really think about it.

Do you have a favorite JSA memory or JSA story that sticks with you (that can be repeated to a wide audience)?

There isn’t one single memory that comes to mind. Because I went to a small school, and because it didn’t have a lot of kindred spirits to me, JSA was home. The feeling I got walking into the St. Francis in San Francisco for Fall State the first time, was the camaraderie and the kindred spirit I felt with hundreds of strangers. These were kids who wanted to make an impact. I belonged with them.

If you could pick a person, working in a field other than politics, and instantly make him or her President of the United States today, who would it be, and why?

Karen Prosser. She’s got the right make-up. She has heart. She has passion. She has motivation and inspiration. I think that she would do a better job than even a celebrity like Oprah. Everything has become celebritized. No one really wants to do the work. Karen would do the work.

Chuck the electoral college, Yes or No?

Chuck it.

Multiple Choice: What did you do with your JSA best speaker gavels?  1. Sold them on Ebay, 2. Put them in a box in the garage, 3. Display them to this day on my mantle, 4. My mother has them. 

(Vivian giggled) They are somewhere in a box in the garage at my mother’s house. For sure.

What legacy that started with JSA carries with you to this day?

My relationships with two of my closest and lifelong friends whom I met at JSA Fall State in 1981. They are two of the most important friendships in my life. In addition to that, I really think I owe my whole view of the world to JSA. My open-minded perspective, my willingness to listen to both sides, all of that came from JSA. There are always two sides. The great thing about JSA is that it made us look and listen to both sides.