AKA Anh Quang Cao
Birthplace: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Religion: Roman Catholic
Race or Ethnicity: Asian
Sexual orientation: Straight
Party Affiliation: Republican
Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Congressman from Louisiana, 2009-11
Elected to Congress in 2008, Joseph Cao was the first Republican to represent Louisiana's 2nd district since 1891. He won the seat by defeating scandal-plagued nine-term incumbent William Jefferson, in what was considered a massive upset in a district that usually votes 75 to 80% Democratic. A key factor in the election was that federal investigators had found $90K in cold cash in Jefferson's freezer.
Cao (pronounced like "gow") was born in what was then Saigon in South Vietnam in 1967. During the Fall of Saigon, he fled with his mother and two siblings to the United States. His father continued to fight in the South Vietnamese army, and was eventually captured by the North Vietnamese and sent to a re-education camp.
He earned his bachelor's degree in physics from Baylor University and his master's degree in philosophy from Fordham University, before spending two years as a Jesuit seminarian in Mexico. He earned his juris doctor from Loyola University New Orleans in 2000, and afterward taught philosophy there.
Cao first ran for the Louisiana state House of Representatives as an independent in 2007. He finished fifth out of a field of six candidates for the 103rd legislative district in the state's "jungle primary" format, failing to make the runoff election. He returned to legal practice following his loss, but decided to run for Congress the following year.
Cao lives in New Orleans with his wife and two daughters. According to an article about his election by the Catholic Church, he has expressed deep devotion for the works of Fyodor Dostoevsky. He was turned out of his seat after a single term, losing to Democratic challenger Cedric Richmond.
Father: My Quang Cao (b. 1931)
Mother: Khang Thi Tran (b. 1935)
University: BS Physics, Baylor University
University: MS Philosophy, Fordham University
Law School: JD, Loyola University New Orleans (2000)
Teacher: Philosophy, Loyola University New Orleans
US Congressman, Louisiana 2nd (6-Jan-2009 to 3-Jan-2011)
Naturalized US Citizen
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