Over the weekend, residents of Louisiana elected the first Vietnamese-American into Congress– he also happens to be a former refugee. Anh “Joseph” Cao defeated Democratic William Jefferson on Saturday in an election that was postponed for a month as a result of Hurricane Gustav.

According to the Associated Press:

Cao (pronounced “Gow”) is largely unknown, but his compelling life story attracted many voters. He was born in Vietnam and had to flee the country after Saigon fell in 1975 at age 8. His father, a South Vietnamese army officer, was imprisoned by Communist forces and later released.

He earned a degree in philosophy from Fordham University, a Jesuit college in New York City, and moved to Louisiana in 1992 as a seminarian. He earned his law degree from Loyola University in New Orleans.

Cao will join former Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, former Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, and former U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland and former governor of Vermont, Madeleine Kunin in becoming refugees who have taken an active role in American politics.