Vang installed as new district court judge

Thai Vang in an undated file photo.

TROY — Thai Vang took the oath of office on Jan. 4 to become the district court judge for the newly created district comprising Stanly and Montgomery counties.

Stanly County District Attorney Lynn Clodfelter presented Vang to be sworn in at the Montgomery County Courthouse with an introduction highlighting Vang’s success story. Vang’s father, Lt. Col. Neng Vang fought in the Vietnam War in Laos for Royal Lao Army, which opposed the communists. Following the war, Vang’s family came to the United States in 1983 as political refugees. Clodfelter showed the audience a photograph of a 2-year-old Thai Vang arriving in America and shared how the newly seated judge keeps the photo in his office.

“It inspires me and amazes me what that photograph represents that Thai, whose family fought on behalf of this country, came here basically starting with nothing.,” said Clodfelter. “He reflects that if you work hard and pursue all the education you can for your chosen path or profession, if you have character and integrity and you take advantage of opportunities as they are presented, you can do anything you want to.”

Clodfelter presented research that said Vang is one of the very few Hmong individuals to ever be elected to the bench in the United States. He also presented Vang with a plaque on behalf of the DA’s office for his service.

Superior Court Judge Kevin Bridges swore in Thai Vang, but first shared some remarks on his experiences dealing with Vang.

“I said then years ago that Thai Vang would make a very good judge someday. Well someday is now this day,” said Bridges. “Over the years, I have seen firsthand the quality of your work as a prosecutor. You have impressed me with your knowledge of the law, your fairness and your temperament.”

Bridges then reminded Vang that the voters chose him, but his duty is to the rule of law.

“The voters of this district have entrusted you with the honor and privilege of serving them as a judge,” said Bridges. “I am confident that you will reward that trust by your steadfast pursuit of justice for all and also with your faithfulness to the oath you are about to take.”

After Vang took the bench, he took a few moments to thank the many people who made his campaign successful and helped him throughout his career.

Vang, who has served Stanly County as the chief assistant district attorney and worked in the district attorney’s office for more than 10 years, has 13-plus years of experience in the courtroom. Vang received his undergraduate degree from George Washington University and his law degree from N.C. Central University. He also runs his family’s chicken farm outside of Troy.

Vang will now be presiding over court in both Stanly and Montgomery counties. This seat was created when the N.C. General Assembly passed House Bill 717 in July 2018, adding Montgomery County to judicial District 20A and prosecutorial District 28.

Vang won the November election with 64 percent of the vote.