The District 67 State Senate seat presents possibly the widest field of candidates of color that Minnesota has ever had in one election for one particular seat. The legacy of Mee Moua, who has decided not to run for another term, means that Hmong candidates are vying to keep it a Hmong seat, while also working to ensure that all people in the district will be as well represented as they were by Senator Mee Moua. There are also other candidates that are not Hmong, including an Indian American, an African American and White candidates running for the DFL party primary on August 10, 2010, and then the general election on November 2.
There is one other DFL candidate, Tom Hilber, who does not have a Web site or publicly accessible election information or photo. He is a repeat candidate who is known as a community activisit, musician and co-founder of the Dry Bones Blues Festival.
There is one Independence Party candidate, Dino Guerin, who does not have a Web site or public informaiton on the campaign at this time. There is not a Green Party candidate registered for the District 67 election.
• John M. Harrington
“We live in a community where over 90 different languages are spoken. The east Side has been built by and enriched by those who came from elsewhere. Diversity through immigration has fueled our economic, cultural and social success and it will continue to do so. In the words of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: “We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects us all.”
St. Paul Police Chief
(Retired July 2010)
Seven children and five (soon to be six) grandchildren.
BA: Religion, Dartmouth College MA: Education, U Saint Thomas Graduate: FBI National Academy
Graduate: National Executive Institute
Graduate: Senior Management Institute for Police
Thirty-three years on St. Paul Police Department; 39th Police Chief from July 2004 to July 2010; professor at Metropolitan State University, creating four-year law enforcement degree, neighborhood policing and problem solving initiatives in crime affected neighborhoods including Eastside CARE project (Comprehensive Area Reclamation Enterprise), and the CITE team approach; helped create Saint Paul Police Athletic League, Brunette Boxing program, the “God Squad” ministers to assist in responding to incidents in communities of color, community board member on Saint Paul Police Foundation, Metropolitan State University, DeLaSalle High School, Minnesota Humanities Commission, and the Upper Midwest Community Policing Institute.
Listen to constituents ideas to better represent them at the Capitol
- Improving educational opportunities
- Economic development
- Stopping the cycle of violence and crime
- Civil Rights
• Foung Hawj (Her)
“I am running as your next state senator because as an active community member, I understand the issues affecting the East Side. I understand the diverse residents of the East Side and share in their dreams for a better community. I am a plain, hard working American who will represent you well at the state capitol.”
Multimedia Producer, Digital Motion LLC
Spouse and two daughters.
BA: Computer Science
BA: Theatre and Film
University of Kansas
MA: Interactive Multimedia Development and Computer Animation
Rochester Institute of Technology, New York
District 67 DFL Precinct Chair, member of St. Paul District 2 Council, Minneapolis Foundation’s Technology Steering Committee, St. Paul Winter Carnival. Co-founded Hmong-American DFL Caucus, Hmong Chamber of Commerce and Center for Hmong Arts and Talent, organized DFL events for candidates and elected officials, twice vice presidet of Lake Phalen Townhome Association,
- Housing solutions for people with mortgage problems.
- Jobs for the east side.
- Quality Education
- Environment – green spaces and natural resources.
• Chai Lee
“I will work hard to partner with, seek advice from and lead the stakeholders and every member of our community to achieve the goal of bringing a rich and high quality of life to the East Side. I fully recognized that much ground work has already been laid out by our great Eastside legislative team of Rep. Tim Mahoney, Rep. Sheldon Johnson, and retiring Sen. Mee Moua. And there is more to do. I look forward to working with them as a team on all of our behalf. I am excited and look forward to working with our soon to be Minnesota Democratic governor to move this state in the right direction again.”
Former Constituent Service Representative for St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman.
Raised in the Dayton’s Bluff Neighborhood. Family purchased first home in the Sun Ray Neighborhood 10 years ago Father is a 20 year blue collar worker; brother served honorably in the U.S. Army; nieces and nephews attend east side schools.
BA: Political Science and International Relations
Member of SD 67 Executive Committee, on the board of Asian-Pacific Islander DFL caucus, appointee Youth Education Advisory Board, volunteer organizer for Take Action Minnesota, campaign volunteer for Paul Wellstone, Tom Goldstein, Vallay Moua Varro.
- Support early childhood education, strong neighborhood public schools, and college access programs.
- Maintaining infrastructure, growing businesses and jobs, investing in green technology for a sustainable future.
- Improving public safety for homes and businesses.
• Vang T. Lor
“As a parent, I want to ensure that all children have equal access to a high-quality education so they can be competitive in the global economy. I will work to expand educational funding to ensure that teachers are given the necessary resources and tools to teach in the classroom and are rewarded for their success. I will sit down with school administrators and teachers to come up with solutions to narrow the achievement gap and fight for a universal education where students from St. Paul will have the same opportunities as students from the suburbs.”
Regional Co-Director of the Hmong Organizing Program at TakeAction Minnesota, and Chair of its Education Committee,
BA: Double Major Criminal Justice/Sociology
Summa Cum Laude
Concordia University – St. Paul
Officer with the DFL State Affirmative Action Commission; Advisory Board member for the Hmong Cultural Dispute Resolution Center at Hamline University School of Law’s Mediation Center, providing alternative dispute resolution, bridging conflicting worldviews between Hmong traditional customs and the Minnesota court system.
- Education – Pre K-12, equal access to quality for competitive advantage in the global economy.
- Job Creation – find creative ways to bring jobs to the east side and into Minnesota.
- Small business tax incentives to hire more employees.
- Public Safety – funding for programs that promote effective life skills and to prevent delinquency andsubstance abuse among high-risk youths.
- Seniors – ensure access, safe public transit, affordable housing and healthcare that works for elders and not drug companies.
• Jim McGowan
“The people of the East Side of Saint Paul deserve a senator who will do everything possible to represent their interests at the state capitol, and I would be honored to serve on your behalf. I am running for the Minnesota State Senate, because I believe in the greatness of this state. The last few years have produced tremendous challenges requiring determined leaders who will fiercely defend all of what makes this a great place to live, work and raise our families. I hope you will join me!”
Minnesota Director of the Medicare Diabetes Screening Project, an awareness outreach to seniors about free diabetes screening through Medicare.
Small business owner,
Spouse, Maren, grown daughter and son
Concordia – Moorhead
Memberships: Prevention Committee, American Diabetes Association; Member, Legislative Subcommittee, American Diabetes Association. Past memberships: Baskets of Care subcommittees on healthcare reform initiatives; MDH State Diabetes Steering Committee; past chair, MDH Minnesota Diabetes Steering Committee; Medications in the Schools Task Force; City Capitol Improvement Board; Several committee chair roles with the Great Lakes Region American Diabetes Association; Campaigner, United Way Campaign; President, U of MN CSCC Housing Cooperative.
- Jobs & Economic Development – partner with private industry to attract a diversity of living wage jobs in manufacturing, service, education, corporate and small businesses, clean energy and Green technology.
- Public Works “Job Now” to rebuild public infrastructure.
- Address barriers to small business growth and employment.
- Explore micro-lending and other options for short-long term lending.
- Renew state laws providing for preference to women, minority and veteran owned businesses.
- Support biomedical research and production.
- Housing and neighborhood security and stability – Affordable housing and rentals, mortgage protection and public safety.
- Education – A commitment to affordable access to higher education. Shift local burden back to state to better address disparities gap between districts.
- Fairness For All – A skilled activist against discrimination of any kind – whether based on gender, race, health or disability status, or sexual orientation – or eliminating racial and economic disparities in education and health care
extending veteran’s benefits to Hmong veterans, marriage equality, disabilities, woman’s right to choose.
- Older Americans – Address health insurance premiums, long term care costs, rising housing costs and property taxes, rising drug costs.
• Avi Viswanathan
“I am running so that I can continue doing what I’ve been doing since joining my wife in the neighborhood: Investing in the East Side.
My wife Kara and I chose the East Side to start our lives together and immediately started trying to help the community in which we lived.
I want to continue that work in the Minnesota Senate by bringing construction projects and businesses into the neighborhood that will create and maintain jobs.
The bottom line is that I want the East Side to succeed. I have worked to that end since I moved into the community, and I will continue it as a Senator. I will work to engage all the diverse communities in the East Side so that we are all served and so that we succeed together.”
Former staff of U.S. Sen. Al Franken, City of St. Paul, Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services.
Former Political Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota.
Souse, Kara and a 1-year-old son.
BA: Computer Science
Georgia Tech. Jurisdoctorate – Suffolk University Law School.
former staff of U.S. Sen. Al Franken, assisted individuals facing foreclosure; City of Saint Paul’s Neighborhood STAR board, awarding grants to development projects; low income housing issues at Disability Advocacy Clinic and Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services; two term President of Dayton’s Bluff Community Council, which established Community Council and Dayton’s Bluff Business Association; voter outreach with TakeAction Minnesota; political director of NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota.
- Education – Build back our system immediately.Rethink how we treat children in schools and provide the resources to succeed. Develop a better measure of student achievement. A viable state grants fund system for college.
- Criminal Justice – Enact smart, creative policies to reduce recidivism and expand the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative.
- Budget and Jobs – Create a fourth tier tax bracket as a progressive income tax system to shift the burden from middle and low-income families. Long-term budget solutions that bring a return on investment. More construction projects on the East Side including the proposed Asian Pacific Cultural Center in the old Hamm Brewery.
- Social Justice – Supports marriage equality and would address equality, health and mental health disparities in the LGBT community. Supports the Equal Rights Amendment in Minnesota, and women’s rights to choose reproductive care and options on family planning and safe and legal abortion.
- Health Care – Support a universal, single-payer health care system as the best way to ensure coverage for all Minnesotans and to reign in the costs of health care.
• Cha Yang
“Hand in hand, we can form an effective team, and together, we will expand East Side’s greatness. I believe the most important role as a State Senator does not involve being a leader, but serving the constituents. As your Senator, I will focus on bills and policies that will benefit District 67 in order to bring prosperity to the East Side and to all Minnesotans.”
Representative, Dept. of Veterans Affairs
Souse, Yia Vang. three daughters and one son.
Bachelor’s of Business Administration and Marketing, Northwood University, Michigan. Masters in Organizational Management, Concordia University-St. Paul. Doctoral Candidate in Education in Leadership, Saint Mary’s University Twin Cities.
Minnesota: Veterans Services Representative, St. Paul; Founder and Executive Director of Cultivating Foundation. Minnesota DFL Hmong Campaign Coordinator for John Kerry, 2004.
Massachusetts: Fitchburg and Leominster, MA resident: Teacher and Hmong Facilitator; Quality Control Assurance; PTA Board member, St. Joseph Middle School, President of Yaj Tsem Nuj; Board member, Hmong Lao Foundation, Co-founder, St. Anthony Church Youth Group; City Interpreter; Director of the Citizenship Program, Hmong Lao foundation. Mayor Mary Whitney Hmong Campaign Coordinator, MA, 1998.
- Jobs, Jobs, and More Jobs – Work to reduce the unemployment rate to 5.0 by 2012. Work with east side companies to keep jobs from shipping outside the state or country. Create jobs from all sectors of the job market. Promote the resources made available from legislation to ensure it benefits the new and existing small businesses as intended and to take advantage of small business tax incentives. Supports”The Local Jobs for America Act” AffordableHealthcare – Work to reduce runaway costs and support affordable healthcare for all.
- Improving K-12 Education – Will work to fund the State Public School Funding Formula so that schools have the resources to prepare Minnesota students to compete in the 21st Century. Parents, teachers and students must have a voice in K-12 education reform. Ensure middle class American high school seniors and current college students receive adequate grants and loans for their tuition.
- Public Safety – Organizing neighborhood crime watches.
- Protect the Environment – Protect natural resources and parks. Make certain that businesses are OSHA compliant.
- State Deficit – Proposetobacco tax increases and ask the rich to help reduce the deficit.
- Lower Property Taxes and Reimbursed Property Tax – The East Side is paying more than its fair share of property taxes. Modify the “Property tax refunds for homeowners schedule to adjust east side homes that are worth less than city of St. Paul estimates.
• Trayshana Thomas
“As our community faces tough economic times and families struggle to maintain and improve their circumstances, Minnesota needs leaders at the Capitol with experience, passion and a fresh vision for moving our state into a prosperous future. I bring to the table 12 years of experience in getting things done for Minnesotans by working with leaders at local, state and federal levels. I bring a passion that is rooted in my day to day interactions with hardworking families who struggle to hold on to the American Dream despite their best efforts. I bring fresh vision for policy solutions that aim to restore financial and economic stability at the State Capitol without resorting to slashing the social safety net of the most vulnerable in our community.”
Former staff member to U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison
One Daughter, Amirah
Staff of U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, Immigration and criminal justice advocate for underprivileged and economically disadvantaged communities with Hassan & Reed law firm; racial and economic justice and legal advocacy work with NAACP; legislative aide to Minn. State Senator Linda Higgins, working on urban environmental protection and early childhood development; campaign leadership roles for Ellison’s state house and congressional campaigns, and State Rep. Bobby Joe Champion.
Minnesota DFL Women’s Hall of Fame 2010 Rising Star Award recipient for commitment to progressive politics and DFL values.
- Job Creation – Support eastside’s small businesses with tax break incentives; Stimulus funds for infrastructure and transportation projects; and investing in Green jobs and technologies.
- Education – Funding initiatives with proven academic results, such as pre-kindergarten, smaller class sizes and magnet schools. Invest in community colleges, trade schools and universities, with special emphasis on occupational retraining programs for unemployed adults.
- Affordable Housing – Create statewide solutions that help homeowners stay in their homes.
- Civil and Human Rights – Support marriage equality; address social inequity in the criminal justice system; expand protections of minority civil rights and liberties. Pro-choice, expand access to birth control, sex education and abortion.
- Health Care – Support single-payer health with preventative care and system uniformity.
- Energy and Environment – Creation of clean and renewable energy sources.
• Krysia Weidell
Krysia Weidell will not have a Primary opponent but her campaign information is listed here.
“Fight the apathy that has eroded individuals rights, and caused the over-reaching power of government. Lower taxes, curb growth and power of government, improve education, ensure individual liberties.”
Accountant and small business owner.
Spouse, Marine Corps Captain Cliff Weidell, two children, Sierra and Jack.
MA: Business Administration
Winona State University
Small business owner, president of a non-profit organization, safety officer and an accountant at her current employer, treasurer for L’etolie du Nord French Immersion Elementary School Parent/Teacher Organization.
- Education: Cut costly mandates, advocate for more local control, and work for a fair and equitable funding model for all schools regardless of where the children live. Support stringent standards, school choice and private school vouchers to create competition between schools to improve education. Support additional funding for arts and athletics.
- Taxes: Eliminate current taxes by cutting unnecessary spending and reforming welfare and public transportation. Lower corporate and individual income taxes to spur economic growth and attract business.
- Fiscal Responsibility – Reduce the size of bloated government by eliminating excessive bureaucracies and spending will reduce naturally.
- Job Creation – Create jobs by supporting tax incentives, streamlining permitting, and reducing mandates.
- States’ Rights – Stand up to the federal government as a conservative voice to protect residents from over zealous federal politicians.
- Individual Liberties – Supports Castle Doctrine to defend from violent threats without the fear of prosecution. Opposes the fairness doctrine and government censure of free speech by squelching opposing viewpoints.
Correction 7/30/2010 to Jim McGowan’s profile: Spouse, Maren, grown daughter and son