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Women of color dominate St. Paul City Council, sales tax increase passes

Hwa Jeong Kim speaks after learning she won her race to represent Ward 5 (Courtesy of HwaJeong Kim for Ward 5)

Saint Paul voters elected a majority of women of color to represent the city, and have opted for a 1% sales tax increase.

As of Wednesday morning, Rebecca Noecker, Mitra Jalali, Hwa Jeong Kim and Nelsie Yang have all been announced unofficial winners in their respective races. Meanwhile Anika Bowie was leading in Ward 1, Saura Jost in Ward 3, and Cheniqua Johnson in Ward 7.

Councilmember Kim said that she followed in the footsteps of former councilmember Amy Brendmoen as she paved the way for the first women majority in the city council.

“This year has been a lot, but we worked hard. This year has been about our shared values, our shared vision for the ward. I have knocked thousands and thousands of doors across the ward, cycle after cycle, and we ran on a platform based on all those conversations that we had,” newly elected Councilmember Kim said. “Folks care about housing, they care about our climate crisis, they care about community first public safety where initiatives address people’s basic needs, and they care about workers rights. This year we have won and there’s so much work to do.”

Sixty percent of voters supported the “penny tax,” as it was dubbed by Ward 1 candidate Bowie, saying the funds are necessary to support road work.

“I voted for [the sales tax],” St. Paul voter Daniel Clifford, upon exiting his polling place. “The roads have to be fixed. We need our streets.”

Ballots are still being tabulated but, as of 10 a.m. Wednesday, Rebecca Neocker had 64% of the votes in Ward 3, followed by Nelsie Yang with 62%.

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