07 December 2008

Congratulations to Representative Joseph Cao

Joseph Cao defeated nine-term congressman William Jefferson in the Second Congressional District in Louisiana. Not only is he the first Vietnamese-American federal congressman, he is a devout Catholic (when was the last time you saw a fleur-de-lys gracing a congressman's banner?). Born in Saigon, he fled with his mother and siblings to the United States after the city's collapse, his father remaining behind. His family settled in Houston, and he received a degree in physics. From his website:
After graduation, Joseph entered the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits), finally arriving in Louisiana for the first time to begin his religious training at Grand Coteau. During his first two years in the Society, Joseph was sent by his religious superiors to various parts of the world to minister to the poor and indigent. Joseph was then sent to New Orleans in 1992 to study theology and philosophy, furthering his training for the priesthood. He subsequently was accepted to Fordham University in New York, where he earned his Master of Arts degree in philosophy in May 1995. He returned to New Orleans to teach philosophy and ethics at Loyola University. The following year, Joseph left the Society of Jesus and taught at a local parochial school in Virginia.
In September of 1997, Joseph returned to New Orleans to study law at Loyola School of Law and subsequently resumed teaching philosophy at Loyola in 1998. In May of 2000, he obtained his Juris Doctorate from Loyola and began his legal career as an associate at the Waltzer Law Firm.... He opened his private law practice in 2002, which he continues to operate. Also in 2002, he was selected by Archbishop Alfred Hughes of the Archdiocese of New Orleans to be a member of the National Advisory Council to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Best wishes to the new congressman!