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David Wu

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Oregon's 1st district
Assumed office 
January 3, 1999
Preceded by Elizabeth Furse

Born April 8, 1955 (1955-04-08) (age 54)
Hsinchu, Taiwan
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Michelle Wu (filed for separation)
Residence Portland, Oregon
Alma mater Stanford University, Yale University
Occupation attorney
Religion Presbyterian
Website David Wu at

David Wu (traditional Chinese: pinyin: Wú Zhènwěi; born April 8, 1955) is a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives for Oregon's First Congressional District. The first district includes part of western Multnomah County and all of Yamhill, Columbia, Clatsop, and Washington Counties. As an ethnic Han Chinese from Taiwan, Wu is the first Chinese American[1] and the first Taiwanese American[2] member of Congress.



Wu's parents were from Suzhou in Jiangsu province in mainland China; they settled in Taiwan due to the Chinese Civil War. Wu was born in Hsinchu, Taiwan in 1955, and the family moved to the United States in 1961.[3] He spent his first two years in the U.S. in Latham, New York where his family were the only Asian Americans in town.[4]

Wu received a bachelor of science degree from Stanford University in 1977, and attended Harvard Medical School (where he shared an apartment with Bill Frist[5]), but dropped out. Instead, Wu received a Juris Doctor degree from Yale Law School in 1982. He served as a clerk for a federal judge and co-founded a law firm, Cohen & Wu, which primarily served the high tech sector in Oregon's "Silicon Forest."

Wu married Michelle Maxine Wu in 1996 and the couple has two children. In December 2009, he filed for separation from his wife, citing irreconcilable differences.[6]

U.S. Congress

Wu was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1998, succeeding Democrat Elizabeth Furse, and began serving in 1999 with the 106th Congress. He won re-election in 2000, defeating state senator Charles Starr in the November election with 58% of the vote to 39% for Starr.[7] Wu won re-election in 2004 over Republican Goli Ameri, in 2006 over Oregon state representative Derrick Kitts and two minor party candidates, and in 2008 with no Republican candidate running, he captured 71% of the vote to win a sixth term over four minor party candidates.

He is a member of the Executive Board for the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus and served as Chair from January 2001 to January 2004. He is also a member of the New Democrat Coalition (NDC), a group of moderate Democrats in the House.


Committee assignments

Congressional campaign controversies

Wu has faced controversy in several of his Congressional campaigns.

  • 2004 – During the 2004 election campaign, The Oregonian reported that in 1976, following his junior year at Stanford University, Wu had allegedly attempted to force an ex-girlfriend to have sex with him. Wu was questioned by Stanford police, who reported that Wu had scratches on his face and neck and wore a stretched T-shirt. No arrest or charges were made in the incident,[8] but Wu himself admitted "inexcusable behavior on my part", and "I take full responsibility for my actions and I am very sorry. I was disciplined by Stanford University for my behavior, and I worked with a counselor."[9] Wu's Republican challenger, Goli Ameri, criticized Wu about the incident during the campaign,[10] but Wu won the election with 58% of the vote to Ameri's 38%.
  • 2006 – In June 2005, Wu went to Iraq and passed out polyester tee-shirts made by an Oregon company to American soldiers, ignoring the known risk of serious burns in the event of a fire. Despite soldiers having been catastrophically injured as a direct result of wearing polyester clothing, Wu continued to place earmarks in Congressional budget bills mandating the purchase of the company's unsuitable polyester garments.[11]
In May 2005, Wu lobbied the federal prison system on behalf of Andrew Wiederhorn, whom Wu described in correspondence as his "friend and constituent".[12] Wu's action was controversial partly because Wu owned $15,000 of stock in Wiederhorn's company, and Wu's campaign had received contributions of at least $8000 from Wiederhorn himself. Furthermore, Wiederhorn had been convicted in connection with an investment scandal which cost $160 million from union pension funds; organized labor groups in particular criticized what seemed undeserved "preferential treatment". Wu apologized.[13]
Union officials additionally criticized Wu's efforts to halt a large construction project in an existing industrial park in a congressional district adjoining Wu's; Wu claimed the area[14] to be environmentally inappropriate for such a project. At a June 1, 2005 meeting with the Northwest Oregon Labor Council, Wu defended his opposition to the project, saying, "It’d be like building a casino in the Yosemite Valley.” Later at the meeting, Wu challenged, “Go ahead. Bring me home... The only thing I’ll miss is not having a national platform on China.”[15]
  • 2008 – During the campaign, The Oregonian cited Wu's Klingon speech controversy and concluded: "the erratic, sometimes incoherent Wu has not won the respect of his House colleagues". Both The Oregonian and a leading regional weekly, Willamette Week, endorsed Wu's Democratic Party primary challenger; Wu prevailed in the primary, and his Republican opponent switched his affiliation to the Independent Party of Oregon for the general election.
  • 2010 – At "town hall meetings" during the summer of 2009, Wu's events typically admitted less than 130, and in one case only 60 participants[16]; the hundreds who were denied entrance[17] were sometimes not even allowed to look or listen in, and sometimes chanted "Let us in!".[18] At a St. Helens town hall meeting on August 14, 2009, Wu invited the audience, “Well if you don’t like the way I am representing you then you should vote for someone else”.[19]
In October 2009, Republican Rob Cornilles announced an early challenge to Wu[20], and Republican staffers recorded and released video of Wu driving his GMC Yukon,[21] contrasting his votes for tougher fuel efficiency standards[22] with Wu's personal use of a "gas-guzzling SUV."[20]

"Klingons in the White House" speech

On January 10, 2007, Wu made a speech on the House floor referring to people in the White House as Klingons with regard to the war in Iraq. Wu, a fan of Star Trek, said he was making a reference to a book by James Mann.[23] Mann wrote that the foreign policy advisory team of George W. Bush's 2000 campaign gave itself the nickname "Vulcans," originating from the large statue of the Roman god in Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's hometown of Birmingham, Alabama.

Wu said that unlike "the Vulcans of Star Trek," who "make decisions based on logic and fact," Rice and her cadre behave more like the warlike Klingons, saying, "there are Klingons in the White House." Wu continued that unlike "real Klingons," who are also known for their courage and code of honor, those in the White House "have never fought a battle of their own." He concludes, "don't let faux Klingons send real Americans to war."[24]

On January 16, 2007, comedian Jon Stewart dedicated a short segment of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart to talk about this speech. He was joined in this discussion by Star Trek actors Leonard Nimoy and George Takei (Spock and Hikaru Sulu respectively). In the discussion, Nimoy stated that the analogy was weak, citing that while Klingons are warlike, they adhere to a strict code of honor. However, this did not actually contradict what Wu said, as stated above.


  1. ^ Tyler, Christina (June, 1999). "To Make a Broader Difference". The Library of Congress Information Bulletin. Retrieved 2006-09-02. 
  2. ^ Schmitt, Eric (1999-07-28). "House Renews China's Trading Benefits". The New York Times. Retrieved 2006-09-02. 
  3. ^ Lydgate, Chris (1999-08-11). "A Question of Conscience". Willamette Week. Retrieved 2006-09-13. 
  4. ^ Nishioka, Joyce; Janet Dang (1999-07-15). "David Wu in the House!". Asian Week. Retrieved 2006-09-13. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Congressman Wu files for separation from wife". The Oregonian. December 28, 2009. Retrieved December 29, 2009. 
  7. ^ 2000 U.S. House of Representatives Results. U.S. Federal Election Commission. Retrieved April 7, 2008.
  8. ^ Laura Gunderson, Dave Hogan and Jeff Kosseff (2004-10-12). "Allegation of assault on woman in 1970s shadows Wu". The Oregonian. Retrieved 2007-01-16. 
  9. ^ "Candidate biography: David Wu", Fox News, Retrieved 2009-10-29
  10. ^ Hamilton, Don (2004-10-22). "Ameri pummels Wu over incident". Portland Tribune. Retrieved 2006-09-13. 
  11. ^ David Heath and Hal Bernton (October 14, 2007). "$4.5 million for a boat that nobody wanted". Seattle Times. Retrieved 2007-10-14. 
  12. ^ "Congressman seeks to aid jailed 'friend'", Eugene Register-Guard, May 14, 2005, page D3 (22), As Retrieved 2010-01-29
  13. ^ "Congressman apologizes over letter written on behalf of jailed executive", Eugene Register-Guard, May 20, 2005, page C2 (12), As Retrieved 2010-01-29
  14. ^ The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area is home to thousands of residents and businesses; of its 292,500 acres, only 114,600 acres are designated "Special Management Areas" managed by the U. S. Forest Service. See Gorge Economic Development Assoc website
  15. ^ "Sparks fly at breakfast with Congressman Wu", Northwest Labor Press, June 17, 2005, As Retrieved 2010-01-29
  16. ^ "David Wu's Town Hall Meeting: Round Two" by Allison Ferre, Willamette Week, August 11, 2009 As Retrieved 2010-01-29
  17. ^ "Local town hall tackles health care reform" by Adam Ghassemi, KATU News, August 10, 2009, As Retrieved 2010-01-29
  18. ^ "Oregon Residents Uneasy on Health Reform" by Joel Millman and Michael M. Phillips, The Wall Street Journal, August 16, 2009, As Retrieved 2010-01-29
  19. ^ "David Wu plays the Bill Clinton Card", by Dianna Cotter and Stephan Andrew Brodhead, Portland Civil Rights Examiner, August 19, 2009
  20. ^ a b Cain, Brad (October 8, 2009). "Republicans take aim at Ore. congressman over SUV". Seattle Times. 
  21. ^ Video at YouTube
  22. ^, linked from Wu's website
  23. ^ Mann, James. Rise of the Vulcans: The History of Bush's War Cabinet (ISBN 0670032999)
  24. ^ Kosseff, Jeff (2007-01-13). "Where no congressman has gone before". The Oregonian. Retrieved 2007-01-13. 

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Elizabeth Furse
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Oregon's 1st congressional district

1999 – present
Representatives to the 106th–111th United States Congresses from Oregon (ordered by seniority)
106th Senate: R. Wyden | G. Smith House: D. Wu | G. Walden | E. Blumenauer | P. DeFazio | D. Hooley
107th Senate: R. Wyden | G. Smith House: D. Wu | G. Walden | E. Blumenauer | P. DeFazio | D. Hooley
108th Senate: R. Wyden | G. Smith House: D. Wu | G. Walden | E. Blumenauer | P. DeFazio | D. Hooley
109th Senate: R. Wyden | G. Smith House: D. Wu | G. Walden | E. Blumenauer | P. DeFazio | D. Hooley
110th Senate: R. Wyden | G. Smith House: D. Wu | G. Walden | E. Blumenauer | P. DeFazio | D. Hooley
111th Senate: R. Wyden | J. Merkley House: D. Wu | G. Walden | E. Blumenauer | P. DeFazio | K. Schrader


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

David Wu in 2007

David Wu (born April 8, 1955) is a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives for Oregon, representing the state's First Congressional District, which includes a small section of western Multnomah County and all of Yamhill, Columbia, Clatsop and Washington Counties. As an ethnic Han Chinese from Taiwan, Wu is the first Chinese American and the first Taiwanese American member of the House of Representatives.


External links


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