Its always a pleasant surprise when an unheralded candidate suddenly appears on the local political scene and qualifies for office. Such is the case with the recent announcement by Trina Chu that she will run for the Caddo District Judge; she qualified this week. She will oppose Charles Tutt to fill Judge Scott Crichton’s seat; Crichton qualified for the Louisiana Supreme Court.
Chu is the classic feel good story of an immigrant family coming to America (legally), and through hard work and diligence becoming productive and successful. Her story, in her own words: “I came here at the age of 8, in 1982 after my father and two older brothers escaped Vietnam in 1980. In 1980, my parents planned for the whole family to escape communism and forced military enrollment into the war between Vietnam and Cambodia, also widely known at the time as Vietnam’s invasion of Cambodia after the Vietnam War with the U.S. So, in 1980, only my father and 2 brothers were able to escape. My mother, two younger brothers, and I were stuck behind.
We were lucky we didn’t get caught by the government police. Had we been caught, we would have been executed. Left being a single mom, my mother sent me and my brother to escape many times after my father’s escape.
Finally, my younger brother and I were successful in April 1982 and were quickly sent to America in August 1982. My father and brothers were already in Boston and they sponsored us over quickly. My mother and one last youngest brother were able to come here in 1987.”
Chu grew up in Boston and has a Ivy league background; in addition to her law degree she has a Masters of Business Administration from Centenary College. She is married to Dr. Quyen Chu, a surgical oncologist and professor at LSU Medical school; she is the mother of a 11 year old son and a 13 year old daughter.
Trina moved to Shreveport in 2002, and since then she practiced at Northwest Louisiana Legal Services for 2 years; she opened her own office in 2005. Prior to that she worked for legal services law firms in Boston and for an insurance defense firm in Buffalo, New York.
Chu says that she has a strong belief that justice should be administered fairly, equally and that it should be accessible to all citizens. She says she is a transplanted Shreveporter, which is good for Shreveport because she can provide a new, unique perspective to the judicial bench. She is not concerned that her opponent may have a long list of attorney endorsements, – – “it’s the voters that decide an election, not a group of people that some may call a special interest group.”
When asked what she wanted voters to know about her, she stated that, “I am very grateful to have this opportunity to run for judge. There is no other country like ours that allows someone like me who had nothing, knew only a few words of English when I first came here, to having all levels of educational degrees and now to be a judge. This is a land of opportunities.
Sometimes, I am afraid that it is all but a dream and that when I wake up, I find myself begging on the streets of Da Nang, Vietnam. As a judge, I will do right by the citizens of Shreveport as I serve them and no others.
Shreveport will be proud to know that they have elected a new, fresh face, first Vietnamese-American to be their district court judge. Shreveport will be the first city with a minimal number of Asians to elect an Asian-American judge, the first in this whole universe.”
Trina Chu certainly has a great life story…and she has admirable credentials that could serve her well as a judge. The real question is whether or not she can get her message out to the public. As a virtual unknown to the overwhelmingly percentage of voters in the judicial district and only 10 weeks to campaign, she has a big mountain to climb. But there is no doubt that she is a survivor who has faced more daunting challenges in her life.