They say St. Paul is the Capital of the Hmong World. Surely we have the largest population of Hmong (in America), which means that we also have the most Hmong owned businesses, doctors, lawyers, etc.
Opinion: Capitol of the Hmong world?
So why haven’t we been able to get Hmong into the city council?
Eau Claire’s done it on four separate occasions. Fresno just got one in, as did Merced (CA). For goodness sake, Omaha, Nebraska even had a Hmong it its city council for the majority of the 1990s!
In 2003 when Bao Vang was only inches away from the finish line, her campaign was foiled by a fellow Hmong politician who had already been knocked out of the race. In the end, that other politician—rather than endorsing Vang—steered his supporters to vote for the eventual winner.
It got so ugly, the State of Minnesota had to investigate the mess that followed that election, further causing a rift within the Hmong community.
This election, everything looked great from the get-go. Pakou Hang’s credentials read like a full length novel: Ivy League graduate; award winning strategist for Mee Moua; a longstanding, loyal DFLer, Hang had built her reputation as one of the true up-and-comers—so much so that she had been considered to be one of the closest associates to the legendary Sen. Paul Wellstone
She definitely was a great candidate and a great hope for the community voice.
So what happened? Where were the extra 350 votes? We’re talking about the East Side of St. Paul! More than 350 Hmong people go walking around Phalen Lake in a day!
Let’s learn from past mistakes for the next run. Let’s move forward. The time has certainly come for St. Paul to embrace the inevitable. We certainly have the raw numbers to make it happen: It’s just a matter of time before the raw numbers turn to numbers at the poll.