Nov. 2, 2010: St. Paul elects its first black legislators

It sounds unlikely, considering that St. Paul is an urban center with a black population of about 12 percent, but on Tuesday city voters for the first time elected black legislators — John Harrington in the Senate and Rena Moran in the House. Both are DFLers.

St. Paul, which over the years has elected blacks to the City Council and school board, sent two Hmong community members to the Legislature — in 2002, Mee Moua and Cy Thao — but neither sought re-election this year and Harrington and Moran were elected to fill their seats.

As Sasha Aslanian reports for MPR, Minneapolis first elected a black lawmaker more than a century ago and now has two black legislators, Bobby Joe Champion and Jeff Hayden.

Harrington — who retired last year as St. Paul’s police chief after 33 years on the force — told MPR that the success of Moua and Thao showed city voters that minority representatives can represent all their constituents.

MinnPost’s Doug Grow recently told Moran’s story.

And MPR noted that Moran “moved to Minnesota 10 years ago as a single mother of seven. She briefly lived in a homeless shelter and, despite having a college degree, took a job cleaning at Camp Snoopy at the Mall of America. She worked her way up as a community organizer and five years ago bought a home in St. Paul’s Rondo neighborhood.”

Said Moran: “It was my life experience that really resonated with people right now at this moment, and regardless of the color, I tell you, because when you lose a job, you lose a home, it has no color.”

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Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 11/04/2010 - 03:00 pm.

    Sadly, there will come a day when the color of people’s skin, their gender and even where they come from will go completely unremarked upon as they go about the business of their lives.

    But for now, I guess we’re lucky to have leftists out there keeping an accurate count of these things.

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