Two Hmong community candidates have won their bid for Twin Cities city councils, and Chue Vue won a seat on the Saint Paul Board of Education.
Civic activist Dai Thao won his bid to serve as the Ward 1 Saint Paul City Councilperson, outpacing a field of seven candidates. He was up against former Saint Paul Public School Board Member Kazoua Kong-Thao, who captured 8.3 percent of the vote and came in fifth.
Noel Nix placed second with 24.4 percent of the vote, while Frogtown community builder Johnny Howard edged out former Councilwoman Debbie Montgomery, followed by Kong-Thao, Mark Voerding, and Paul Holmgren.
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Dai Thao is an IT professional and a graduate of Montana State University. He was co-chair of the State Rep. Rena Moran campaign, and co-organized efforts ranging from Hmong SGU Veterans benefits to the defeat of Voter ID and Marriage Amendments, to LRT stops and establishing ISAIAH, TakeAction Minnesota, and PolicyLink.
Thao will join Chris Coleman who was reelected as Mayor of Saint Paul with 78.2 percent of the ballot and over three other candidates.
Attorney Blong Yang soundly defeated a pool of four candidates to become the Minneapolis City Council Member for Ward 5.
Yang took 1,462 votes or 42.6 percent of all first choice ballots and lost just one of eight precincts coming in second to Ian Alexander in the 5th precinct. Yang also won the second-choice vote with 32.92 percent.
Ward 5 candidates Yang, Alexander, and Brett Buckner are all Democratic-Farmer-Labor and Kale Severson was the exception as the Green Party candidate who took 6.3 percent.
Abdi Warsame won the Ward 6 race with 40.17 percent of all first place votes in the field of six candidates, five of whom were also new African Americans.
The remainder of the Minneapolis City Council seats went to Kevin Reich (Ward 1); Cam Gordon (Ward 2); Jacob Frey (Ward 3); Barb Johnson (Ward 4); Lisa Goodman (Ward 7) Elizabeth Glidden (Ward 8) Alondra Cano (Ward 9); Lisa Bender (Ward 10); John Quincy (Ward 11); Andrew Johnson (Ward 12); and Linea Palmisano (Ward 13).
Chu Vue led all candidates with 30.81 percent of the vote for a seat on Saint Paul Public School Board ISD 625. Vue is the only new board member to be elected.
Seated members Jean O’Connell and John Brodrick were re-elected. The remaining candidates in the field were Terrance Bushard, Greg and Copeland.
Dai Tao and Blong Yang are the first Hmong or Asian Americans to serve on the city councils of either Minneapolis or Saint Paul.
Chu Vue is the fourth Hmong American to serve on the Saint Paul Public School Board. Former member Kazoua Kong Thao lost in her bid for City Council.
Photo: From left, Minneapolis Ward 5 City Councilmember Blong Yang; Saint Paul Ward 1 City Councilmember Dai Thao; and Saint Paul Public School Board Member Chue Vue.