Candidate Bee Kevin Xiong is running for St. Paul city council in Ward 6. Xiong, father of three and an East Side resident for almost 10 years, works as a real estate agent. His biggest goals are to improve housing and public safety, which are, according to Xiong, citywide issues but need extra attention in the sixth ward.
“[The number of] vacant homes [is] the highest in St. Paul. Last year, Frogtown had 287 vacant homes and East Side had 313 vacant homes. We can work directly with local banks to get the homes fixed and sell them to the low/medium-income families. That way we can reduce the number of vacant homes,” Xiong says.
As far as public safety is concerned, Xiong hopes to start after school programs, offer broadband so that the youth can stay at home to gain Internet access, and extend park and library hours. Xiong says that “This will keep kids off the streets and reduce crime.”
When asked what he wanted to change, Xiong replied, “I want to use the word ‘improve’ more than ‘change’ because I know that we will not be able to totally change everything, but we can improve it.”
What is it like in the day of a city council candidate? Between 9 a.m. and noon, Xiong is in meetings. In afternoon to early evenings, Xiong and his team of volunteers are going door to door, talking to the residents of the sixth ward. He asks what the resident which issues they are concerned about in the ward and then explains his plan and why he’s running for city council. “I’m endorsed by the Green Party, which means we are a grassroots democracy – we care about people. We treat them with dignity and respect. We put people first.”
While Xiong hasn’t been in government before, he has worked on two campaigns in Wisconsin, and both candidates won. Xiong also has a history of working with several non-profit Hmong advocacy organizations as president, vice president, executive treasurer, and secretary. He says that he’s coming in with energy and a passion for helping the community.
“This year is my turn.”