Ex-Refugee Now First Vietnamese-American Congressman

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

When Anh "Joseph" Cao (kow) was 8 and Saigon was about to fall, his parents put him on a U.S. military transport plane to America.

Now, 30 years later Cao has been sworn in as the first Vietnamese-American to serve in Congress.

The 41-year-old Republican attorney from New Orleans won a narrow victory against Rep. William Jefferson, an icon in the mostly black, mostly Democratic district. But Jefferson is under a federal indictment for allegedly taking bribes.

Cao earned a physics degree from Baylor University in the 1980s, then trained as a Roman Catholic priest until 1996 when he opted to study law. He got his law degree and taught at Loyola University Law School in New Orleans.

Cao emerged as a leader in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

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