A school teacher who’s never run for political office has become the first Hmong American to win a Republican congressional primary in the United States.
This while California Governor Gavin Newsom this week appointed the first Hmong American female judge in California.
CBS News Minnesota reports May Lor Xiong won the GOP primary Tuesday in St. Paul Tuesday and will face Democratic incumbent Betty McCollum in the general election in November.
She said the riots that followed the verdict of George Floyd murder inspired her to run. She describes her victory as “huge” for her community.
“We held a lot of office in the local area but not at the federal or congressional level,” she said. “We don’t have anybody with my background in Washington, D.C., so to have, hopefully in November when I win this seat, that representation means a lot in the Hmong community and the minority community in our district.”
Minnesota has the second largest concentration of Hmongs in the United States after California. Most of the Hmong in Xiong’s home state are concentrated in Ramsey County which she hopes to represent in Congress.
She faces a huge challenge. McCollum won reelection in 2020 by more than 30 points.
In California, Pahoua Lor, 42, will sit as a superior court judge in Fresno County, reports the Fresno Bee.
“I think I’ve been crying ever since,” the 42-year-old said to Your Central Valley. “I think it’s groundbreaking because it sends a message that we are here, we belong, it’s inclusive.”
According to KSEE, she is the first female Hmong American in California.
Her appointment is being applauded by the Hmong community.
“We talk about the American dream, and she is a perfect example of the American dream of immigrant parents, refugee parents, that came here,” said Pao Yang, Fresno Center President and CEO. “The community is proud.”
Lor earned her law degree from San Joaquin College of Law and worked as an attorney with Central California Legal Services from 2010-2013. Soon after she opened her own practice and more recently worked as an immigration attorney since 2019.
“I hope to be able to treat people with respect and to also be patient and listen to them before weighing out any decisions,” Lor said.
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