Retired immigration judge to run for Congress

Republican Danville resident Tue Q. Phan seeks to fill George Miller's seat

A retired immigration judge from Danville has thrown his hat into the ring as a Republican candidate for the congressional seat soon to be vacated by U.S. Rep. George Miller (D-Martinez).

"It takes guts to run, but I welcome the opportunity," Tue Q. Phan said in a phone interview Monday.

The 71-year-old Phan, who moved with his family from Vietnam to the United States in the 1970s, served as a judge for the U.S. Executive Office of Immigration Review in San Francisco from 1995 until stepping down at the end of 2012.

"I retired with the intent specifically to run (for legislative office)," he said. "I realized there is another way, a broader way, that I wanted to have an impact and that is with policymaking."

Opportunity presented itself to Phan, and other congressional hopefuls, on Jan. 13 when Miller announced he planned to retire after his current term -- his 20th in the House of Representatives.

Miller, 68, has been one of the longest-serving Democrats in Congress. He won re-election handily in November 2012, defeating Republican Virginia Fuller 69.7 percent to 30.3 percent.

Miller's 11th Congressional District -- redrawn in 2012 -- consists of most of Contra Costa County, including Richmond to the west, Pittsburg to the east and the central-county communities such as Danville, Concord, Pleasant Hill, Walnut Creek, Orinda and Lafayette.

Thus far, Phan is the only Republican to officially announce his candidacy for the forthcoming House vacancy.

Democrat State Sen. Mark DeSaulnier -- whose senatorial district covers about 70 percent of the 11th Congressional District -- has received endorsements from more than six dozen local, state and federal officials to date in his bid to fill Miller's seat.

Phan admitted considering himself an "underdog, a dark horse" in the race for Congress, but added, "It's only in the United States that that opportunity can be open to anyone."

An attorney by trade in Vietnam, Phan and his family sought refuge in the U.S. in 1975 after the fall of Saigon. He said he began life in America in greater Washington, D.C., working a variety of jobs including dishwasher, shoe repairer, machine operator and French teacher.

The Phans relocated to Des Moines, Iowa, in 1979, and he graduated from Drake University Law School six years later.

He worked as a hearing officer, and later an administrative law judge, for the Iowa Department of Job Service before becoming an assistant attorney general in the Iowa Justice Department.

The family moved to California in 1988, and Phan spent the next five years as a trial attorney with the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service. He then served almost two years as an administrative law judge with the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board before being appointed as an immigration judge in March 1995.

Phan and his wife have four adult sons and eight grandchildren. The couple have lived in Danville since 1995.

Phan said he plans for his name to appear on the ballot as Tue Q. Phan, although he was formally referred to as Tue Phan-Quang and Phan Quang Tue at times during his legal career.


Like this comment
Posted by Frank delacroix
a resident of Danville
on Jan 29, 2014 at 11:47 am

ANYONE but a democrap for us!!

Like this comment
Posted by Sue
a resident of Danville
on Jan 29, 2014 at 12:46 pm

How refreshing! We may actually have a choice of a non-politico! And someone with a great work ethic!

Like this comment
Posted by bz
a resident of Danville
on Jan 29, 2014 at 2:25 pm

I agree_ refreshing!I look forward to learning more about him!

1 person likes this
Posted by JJ
a resident of Danville
on Jan 29, 2014 at 8:31 pm

Careful what you wish for....Arnold was a "non politico" and look how messed up the state became under him.

Like this comment
Posted by Jan
a resident of Walnut Creek
on Mar 10, 2014 at 1:32 am

I had the pleasure of meeting Judge Phan last year and was checking out his site. He seems to be a man of knowledge, integrity and resilience. He reminds me of Mc Cain-- and I don't mean the age;) I think his experience in Immigration will be valuable in dealing with the issue. I think the moderates of both side would like him, and hope they do come out to vote. Moderates tend not to vote as much and leave it to the extremists. We need more representatives like Judge Phan in Washington. Someone who has a stand, but open minded to listen to the argument and hope he will do what is best for the people.

Like this comment
Posted by M. Sher
a resident of another community
on Mar 23, 2014 at 1:19 pm

Disclosure: another potential candidate I know showed me the Judge's open letter, but I am writing on my own behalf.

The Judge explains why he wants to go to Congress as follows:

"I run for the U.S. Congress... because I believe that the free Vietnamese-Americans and the people of Vietnam should have a voice on the international forum; and at this time, the forum is the U.S. Congress.”

Web Link

I am astonished this candidate would receive either Party's endorsement. I believe members of Congress, whatever their background, should represent Americans, not the population of another country.

I also noticed the Judge is on both sides of every issue. He wants American leadership in the world, but believes in "a balance of power." He believes in the sanctity of life and wouldn't uphold abortion, but he wouldn't interfere in a woman's private choice. He believes in 2nd Amendment rights, but those right have "to be tempered to protect the general safety of our society."

So other than being the voice of the Vietnamese people, what does this candidate stand for?

Like this comment
Posted by Truusje
a resident of San Ramon
on Mar 23, 2014 at 6:00 pm

I would think that republicans, especially the affluent, consider themselves, informed voters.
So if you really want a better representative, do yourself a favor and read about whom your choice of candidate says himself, he will be representing, once you send him to Wash. DC. Web Link

What do you call the people who voted for Obama, because he is Black? "Drones".
What would you call educated people who vote for a candidate, only because he has an "R" behind his name? "Dumber Drones"

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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