Joe Montano, a close aide to Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and a prominent activist in the Washington area’s Filipino American community, died July 25 at his home in Falls Church, Va. He was 47.
His parents said he had hypertension and died of an apparent heart attack.
Before joining Kaine’s staff, Mr. Montano was active in Democratic Party politics and Filipino American causes.
In addition to working for the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Party of Virginia, he served as national vice chairman of the Filipino Civil Rights Advocates group and executive director of the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA).
In 2009, Kaine, then Virginia governor, appointed Mr. Montano to the Virginia Asian Advisory Board.
As NaFFAA executive director from 2000 to 2002, Mr. Montano coordinated the organization’s Fil-Am Vote campaign, a nationwide voter mobilization effort focused on outreach to Filipino American communities and college campuses.
The son of a Filipino immigrant who served in the U.S. Navy, he also worked to obtain U.S. benefits for Filipino veterans who fought for the Americans during World War II, when the Philippines was a U.S. possession.
Speaking to Virginia delegates at the Democratic National Convention, Kaine paid tribute to Mr. Montano’s organizing skills. He cited a recent visit the two made to a Muslim community center and mosque in Sterling, Va., an event Kaine described as “a classic Joe Montano production — pulling together the beautiful strands of the Virginia rainbow.”
Jose Monge Montano Jr. was born at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., (now Joint Base Andrews) on Aug. 24, 1968, and grew up in Norfolk, Va. He worked as a community organizer and at the student union of George Washington University before receiving a bachelor’s degree in political science from GWU in 2000.
Survivors include his parents, retired Navy petty officer first class Jose Montano and Loreto Montano of Norfolk; a sister; and a brother.
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