Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Louisiana’s 2nd district (R), 2009 – 2011
Joseph Cao pulled through an election running as a Republican in a historically majority-Democratic district to serve in the 111th Congress (2009-2011). He became the first Vietnamese American to serve in Congress, highlighting the “new political activism of the Vietnamese Community in post-Katrina New Orleans”. His accomplishment became a point of pride for Vietnamese Americans.
He frequently crossed party lines to pursue and support measures which he thought would best meet the needs of his constituents. He was especially divergent on the Republican stance against a major health care reform.
Cao was originally from Saigon, Vietnam and immigrated to the U.S at age eight, largely growing up in Texas. His Catholic faith had a strong influence on his education and interests, later shaping his political views to promote social change.