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Interesting article on the first Vietnamese-American elected to Congress. Take a closer look at the reporting in the following exerpts.

"NEW ORLEANS — Soft-spoken, retiring and diminutive, Anh Cao does not appear to fit the role of dragon-slayer."

"Mr. Cao was a refugee from Vietnam at age 8, a former Jesuit seminarian, a philosophy student with a penchant for Camus and Dostoyevsky, an unknown activist lawyer for one of the least visible immigrant communities here and a Republican in a heavily Democratic district."

"Mr. Cao is not large, standing only 5 feet 2 inches by his own sheepishly given reckoning. But he is persistent and has the sort of difficult life story that would have made taking on Mr. Jefferson seem like a lesser hurdle."

"He is only a recent convert to the Republican Party, having been a registered independent for most of his adult life, and has no position — at least not one he cares to share yet — on President-elect Barack Obama's agenda. His politics seem less a matter of ideology than of low-key temperament and a Jesuit-inspired desire to “help and serve people,” as he put it. His mother bundled him onto a military transport plane with some siblings as Saigon fell in 1975 — “She shoved me along with a bunch of relatives,” he said — and he was separated from his father, a South Vietnamese army officer sent to a prison camp, for 16 years. He recalls a letter he received from his father at age 9, sent from the prison: Study hard, and give back to the community."

"Mr. Cao left the Jesuits, set up as a lawyer and began advocating for the small Vietnamese community clustered in the eastern section of New Orleans. Like others in the community, his life was devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, which flooded his house with eight feet of water. And like others, he quickly bounced back, part of a resilience in the community that was chronicled here in the first months after the hurricane hit. "

"The odds did not look good for Mr. Cao, but he was helped by two circumstances. Whites, fed up with the scandals around Mr. Jefferson, who is black, turned out in force, and blacks stayed home. In largely white precincts, turnout was around 26 percent, while in the blackest precincts, it was only around 12 percent, said Greg Rigamer, a New Orleans demographer and analyst."

"Full article: "History and Amazement in House Race Outcome"


Published: December 7, 2008



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