Gov. Brown Appoints First Hmong American Judge in the US

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 Paul Lo

Paul Lo

LOS ANGELES – The Asian Pacific American Leadership Project (APALP) congratulates alumnus Paul Lo on his appointment by Governor Jerry Brown to the Merced County Superior Court.  Lo was a member of the inaugural APALP Leadership & Candidate Training Bootcamp in 2004 and is the first Hmong American to be appointed a judge in the United States. 

The APALP is a non-profit and non-partisan leadership training program designed to help prepare and better equip APA leaders and emerging leaders for public service and civic involvement.  In addition to Lo, past participants of the APALP include Board of Equalization Member Betty Yee, Assemblymember Phil Ting, Assemblymember Rob Bonta, San Francisco Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, San Francisco Supervisor Eric Mar, among many others.

Previously, Lo was appointed to the Merced City School District Board of Trustees-he is the first person of Hmong descent to hold a political office in California.  In 2001, he was re-elected to this seat-garnering the most votes of all candidates vying for 3 seats.

Lo was born in Laos before fleeing the country with his family at age 7. His family eventually settled in the United States, where he learned English as a second language before graduating from Tokay High School in Lodi, CA, UC Davis, and UCLA School of Law.  He decided to pursue law in order to help the Hmong community, which was encountering significant cultural obstacles in navigating the American legal system. He has been a practicing attorney for 20 years.

“Governor Brown should be applauded for making history and appointing a well-qualified and outstanding public servant to the bench.  Lo is the embodiment of the hopes and aspirations of all Americans and will serve our community and state well.” said APALP founder Ronald Wong.

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