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Judge elected in Milwaukee County is first female Hmong-American on the bench

Chuck Quirmbach

Wisconsin Public Radio

A Milwaukee County woman has become the first female Hmong-American to be elected judge in the U.S.

Kashoua "Kristy" Yang easily defeated Fox Point municipal Judge Scott Wales in a contest to replace a retiring Milwaukee County circuit judge. Yang has practiced family law and worked on Social Security and worker's compensation issues.

Part of Yang's campaign highlighted coming to the U.S. as a refugee from Laos at age six. She said her family's history is about survival, and that's given her perseverance and a strong work ethic.

Yang said her victory is important for the Hmong community, but said she's still letting it sink in.

"I don't know ... (if) I will put great value in that for me personally. But I understand what it means to the Hmong community, and how it can pave the way for the Hmong community," Yang said. 

She said she tries to see the humanity in everyone, and will try to take that philosophy with her when she heads to the Milwaukee County bench this summer, for a six-year term.

Yang graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School in 2009.

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