ST. PAUL (May 9, 2013) — Kazoua Kong-Thao, the former St. Paul Board of Education member, officially announced her candidacy for Saint Paul’s Ward 1 City Council seat on May 9 at the Hmong Professional Building. The seat became open with the resignation of incumbent Melvin Carter III who accepted a post with the State Board of Education.
Kong-Thao said she is confident that her eight years on the Saint Paul School Board and more than 20 years of community advocacy will help her win the crucial endorsement of the DFL City Convention on June 8, 2013. She lists her main priorities as assisting small businesses that were hurt by light-rail construction, affordable housing, and continued investment in education.
“Light rail construction has hurt many businesses, especially our small, diverse stores and restaurants on University Avenue,” Kong-Thao said. “They need the city’s help, and I will fight for them, because their success is a win for the city as well as the families that they support.”
Kong-Thao said that her experience as a School Board member has taughter her that education is key to strong, safe communities.
“We have to make sure we have strong partnerships between the city and our local schools to create opportunities for all citizens in Ward 1,” she said. “I have the experience and I have shown that I can build partnerships that lead to win-win situations for all involved.”
Kong-Thao said solving the most pressing problems faced by the area requires someone who is experienced in local government and deeply involved in the community.
Kong-Thao grew up in Ward 1 and, like her four children, attended Jackson Elementary School. She has worked for more than two decades as a community activist and political organizer. She was recognized for her work for equity and justice in February of this year, when she received Minnesota’s prestigious Martin Luther King Junior Award.