FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – California is getting its first female Hmong judge. On Saturday, Governor Newsom appointed attorney Pahoua Lor to the Fresno County Superior Court.

“I think I’ve been crying ever since,” the 42-year-old said. “I think it’s groundbreaking because it sends a message that we are here, we belong, it’s inclusive.”

Lor has been a sole practitioner since 2013 and a part-time immigration attorney at the Fresno Center since 2019.

“She does an amazing job at helping us educate the community,” said Pao Yang, Fresno Center President and CEO. “You can’t change the law, you can’t do that. But it’s how you interpret it so the different ethnic groups understand and that’s what she’s good at.”

Pahoua said she’s sacrificed a lot to get here, sharing she was a single parent during law school.

“I had to be away from my daughter when I was studying for the Bar, she stayed with my parents when I was at school,” explained Pahoua.

“We talk about the American dream, and she is a perfect example of the American dream of immigrant parents, refugee parents, that came here,” said Yang. “The community is proud.”

“I hope to be able to treat people with respect and to also be patient and listen to them before weighing out any decisions,” Pahoua said. 

The judge appointee said there’s no word yet on when she’ll be sworn in.