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Former St. Paul NCAAP head Nathaniel Khaliq to get interim City Council appointment

The St. Paul City Council is set to appoint Nathaniel Khaliq to serve as interim City Council member in Ward 1 until the November election.

A retired city firefighter and the retired head of the St. Paul NAACP, Khaliq will replace Council Member Melvin Carter III, who is halfway through his second term, but is leaving the council to take a job in the state Education Department.

Carter said today:

“There was a great field of candidates for the interim position and I’m pleased the council has chosen Nathaniel Khaliq. I’m confident he’ll do a great job.”

Khaliq was selected from 13 applicants for the interim job and will be officially appointed by the council Wednesday; Carter will not vote.

Khaliq was chosen despite, or perhaps because, he has pushed the city and the City Council for years on affirmative action issues. He’s been involved in battles to improve police department procedures, hiring of more minority firefighters, policies to hire and contract with minority workers, and improved affordable housing.

Some council members consider his often-contentious history with the city to be a strong effort in improved city-building.

Khaliq will serve until the November election, when several applicants will vie to finish the final two years of Carter’s term.

Among those interested in running in November are:

  • Debbie Montgomery, former Ward 1 council member and retired police officer
  • Kazoua Kong-Thao, a former school board member
  • Matt Hill, of the Heritage Preservation Commission
  • Johnny Howard, who ran against Carter two years ago
  • Noel Nix, Carter’s council aide
  • Dai Thao, an IT manager who’s worked on progressive causes
  • Mark Voerding, a former aide to Ward 1 Council Member Bill Wilson; now aide to Ramsey County Commissioner Janice Rettman
  • Paul Holmgren reportedly has been recruited to run as a Republican; he ran once for the state House.

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