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Thursday
Oct 23rd

Carter, Hardy bring progressive leadership

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Melvin Carter III last week won election as the next City Councilmember for Ward 1, with 58% of the vote. In a thank you note to supporters, Carter said the victory was "an amazing testament to your faith in me, and I am so proud". Melvin Carter III last week won election as the next City Councilmember for Ward 1, with 58% of the vote. In a thank you note to supporters, Carter said the victory was "an amazing testament to your faith in me, and I am so proud".

"When I began this campaign," he said, "one of my goals was to reach out to community members who haven't been part of the political process in this Ward; I'm proud to say that we've succeeded."

"I wanted a campaign that represented the entire Ward: from Frogtown to Summit Avenue, Selby-Dale to Lex-Ham, over on the North side of the railroad tracks, Capitol Heights, Rondo and Cathedral Hill. I wanted to include the people who just moved into the Ward--and the country--as well as the people who've been here for generations, the people with young families, the people who've already raised their families, and the people who've made this community their family. I wanted to include people from all economic and cultural backgrounds."

"It has been humbling, empowering, and exhilarating running to represent you," Carter said.

St. Paul voters, Tuesday night elected Keith Hardy to the St. Paul school board.

Born in Buffalo, N.Y., and raised in South Carolina, Hardy, 44, earned a bachelor's degree in journalism at the University of Texas-Arlington. He worked at Burlington Northern as a technical writer and earned a master's degree at the University of Minnesota in technical communication. Today he is technology project coordinator at Target's downtown Minneapolis headquarters.

Former St. Paul School Board chair Al Oertwig encouraged Hardy to volunteer for School Board committees, then urged him to run for the board. Hardy was elected to the seat Oertwig resigned from several months ago.

Oertwig went to bat aggressively for Hardy and another DFL endorsed candidate, Kazoua Kong-Thao, an incumbent. They were part of a slate of four DFL endorsed candidates. The eight-candidate ballot included one republican incumbent who had been on the school board since 1991,defeating the DFL endorsed candidates in each election in 1991, 1995, 1999 and 2003.

Incumbents Anne Carroll, sought election to her third term, and Kazoua Kong-Thao, sought election to her second.

Carroll and Kong-Thao got the most votes. Republican Tom Conlon followed, with Hardy becoming the only non-incumbent elected.

Oertwig said there was little reason to believe that all four of the DFL endorsed candidates could survive since the Republican incumbent had defeated even seated incumbent and DFL endorsed board members. However, two of the DFL endorsed candidates would bring special qualities to the board and would be sorely missed if they were not elected.

Oertwig reasoned that Keith Hardy and incumbent Kazoua Kong-Thao were critical assets to St. Paul "at a time when we are discussing closing the achievement gap (between students of color and white students), and when over half of the students in the St. Paul School system are either Afro-American or Asian," he said. Had Hardy not been elected, there would be no Black person on the board.

"Candidates from these backgrounds are urgently needed to be a part of this discussion," he said. Oertwig said Hardy was "Better acquainted with the role and expectations of a school board member than any other candidate." He said Hardy has the maturity to fill them. He said Kong-Thao has already demonstrated her leadership skills on the board as vice-chair.
 

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