Wu moved to the United States with his family when he was a boy. He earned B.S. from Stanford University in 1977, attended Harvard Medical School, and received a law degree from Yale University in 1982. Wu was a clerk for a federal judge in Portland before co-founding a law firm, Cohen & Wu in 1988. Wu represented high technology firms and small businesses. In 1998, Wu was elected to Congress as representative of Oregon's high tech “Silicon Forest.” A Democrat, he was reelected in 2000, 2002, and 2004. The first Chinese-American to serve in Congress, Wu serves as chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific Caucus and is a member of the New Democrat Coalition, a group of moderate Democrats. He serves on the Education and Workforce Committee, and its subcommittee on Early Childhood, Youth, and Families, as well as the Committee on Science, and its subcommittees on Technology, and on Space and Aeronautics.