By Nancy Cook published in
March 1, 2016


Former Republican U.S. Rep. Joseph Cao today announced his candidacy for the United States Senate seat being vacated by Sen. David Vitter.

Cao, who will be 49 years old on March 13, served as a member of the House of Representatives for Louisiana’s Second Congressional District and was the nation’s first Vietnamese-American congressman.

Cao recently told supporters he is entering the race because he believes Louisiana deserves a senator who puts delivering for Louisiana ahead of party politics or political gain.

Cao earned a bachelor’s degree in physics from Baylor University in 1990. After graduation, Cao was a Jesuit seminarian for six years, but withdrew after deciding he did not have a vocation to the Catholic priesthood.

But his years with the Society of Jesus brought him from the slums of Mexico to the refugee camps of Hong Kong, where he experienced first-hand the suffering of the indigent.

In 1995, Cao earned a M.A. in philosophy at New York’s Fordham University, and returned to Louisiana to teach ethics at Loyola University New Orleans.

He then earned a juris doctor from Loyola Law School in 2000, and began his legal career as in-house counsel for Boat People S.O.S., a non-profit organization serving the needs of Vietnamese refugees.

Cao is married to Hieu “Kate” Hoang, a Doctor of Pharmacy. The couple has two daughters.

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