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It was a very good year for Gene Wu

Rep.-elect Gene Wu has some big shoes to fill in HD137, but I am confident that he will do a fine job of it.

Rep. Gene Wu

Wu relates much of what he plans to do and why he sought public office to his experiences growing up in Sharpstown.

His family emigrated to the United States from China when he 5.

“When my family first moved here we were dirt poor,” he said.

His parents settled first in Odessa and then found an apartment in Houston’s Parkgreen Apartments near the Sharpstown Golf Course.

Wu’s father, Zhengyi Wu, worked as a nurse. At age 45, he pursued a new dream, and started attending law school. He now has his own immigration law practice.

His mother, Anmei Tang, is an electrical engineer.

“The first thing we did was save money for a house,” Wu said. “My parents worked long, crazy hours.”

The family ultimately found an affordable house in Sharpstown’s Crane Park subdivision. Wu’s parents still live there today.

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Wu said he knows the idea of saving world sounds idealistic. But he’s unapologetic about his goals.

“It’s still possible to save the world, and it’s still worth saving,” he said.

During his graduate studies, Wu completed a fellowship at the Texas Workforce Commission, where he worked on improving community college and technical school standards.

After graduation, Wu became the chief clerk for the House Higher Education Committee for the Texas Legislature.

Wu came to the conclusion that while his master’s degree in public policy helped prepare him to create law, he needed a better understanding of how the law is enforced.

“Half the coin was missing,” he said.

Wu was drawn to the trial advocacy program at South Texas College of Law and earned his law degree there in 2008.

Shortly after graduation, he joined the Harris County District Attorney’s office.

“I went to trial on my second day in the office,” Wu said. “I won that trial.”

Throughout his time with the DA’s office, Wu volunteered in the community. He has been president of the Houston 80-20 Political Action Committee, a board member with community advocacy organization OCA Greater Houston, a mentor and teacher for Skills for Living, a tutor for at-risk youth at Sharpstown High School’s Grad-Lab and Twilight programs and a trainer for Neighborhood Centers Inc.

“The quality that stands out about him is his dedication to the community,” said Sacha Lazarre, senior director of civic engagement for Neighborhood Centers.

For the past five years, Wu has trained Neighborhood Center volunteers to help community members complete their citizenship applications during monthly citizenship forums.

“I think he loves what he does,” Lazarre said. “He’s passionate about it. And he takes time to bring in stories to make it relevant to (the volunteers). That’s appreciated.”

All this and he got married to KTRK’s Miya Shay this year, too. Having interrupted his blogging to help get Wu elected, Greg Wythe will continue to interrupt his blogging to work for Wu in Austin. Needless to say, I expect great things. May 2013 be an even better year for Rep.-elect Gene Wu than 2012 was.

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