MINNEAPOLIS (Aug. 9, 2013) — Blong Yang, a young Hmong American Democrat, is making it official to run for public office in Minneapolis.
Yang, a lawyer who lives in the Jordan neighborhood with his wife and two young daughters filed the paperwork on Friday, August 9th. He is seeking the Minneapolis Ward Five City Council seat.
The one true progressive in the race, Yang’s momentum is growing through word of mouth and with strong endorsements from Stonewall DFL and the Firefighters IAFF Local 82. Yang is also supported by former City Council President Paul Ostrow, former City Council Vice President Joe Biernat, Golden Valley City member Paula Pentel, and former St. Olaf College director of Multicultural Affairs and Community Outreach, Bill Green. Yang attracts a wide range of supporters who are impressed with his vision and commitment.
“I want to make sure that Ward Five receives its fair share of services and investment. We deserve comparable police protection, fire and ambulance services as other parts of the City,” said Yang. “We also must encourage more businesses to locate here. We need jobs. I want to ensure as much as I can, that city government plays an active role in helping to start up small businesses—including minority businesses—with less red tape and more assistance from the City.”
Above all, community and former government leaders know that Yang is wholly dedicated to public service.
“Blong has unique skills to bring people together and give North Minneapolis the voice it needs and deserves at city hall,” said Joe Biernat, former City Council Vice President and Ward Three council member. “He has a history of strong community involvement and helping people in need. He is all about the neighborhood. I truly believe he will be an outstanding council member.”
Ostrow, former City Council President and representative for Ward One, is equally impressed with Yang’s promise.
“Blong is a natural leader who will bring people together to make change,” said Ostrow. “He understands how to make government work for people.”
Yang hit the streets during the FLOW Northside Arts Crawl to meet, greet and talk to voters. On a rather chilly Saturday afternoon, Yang brought his signature warmth, humor and vision to community members attending FLOW. Pentel, who ran against Yang for the County Commissioner seat last year, had nothing but praise for her former opponent.
“Blong could have won last year and I’d have been just as happy as if I had won,” said Pentel. “He is truly committed to public service and making his patch of North Minneapolis a better community for his family and his neighbors.”
Yang came by his commitment honestly. He has known hardship and sacrifice but worked hard to overcome the barriers that confronted him and his family as immigrants 30 years ago.
“I am the oldest son in a family of eight. I was born in a refugee camp in Thailand. I immigrated to the U.S. in 1980 with my family when I was three years old. I grew up watching my parents struggle to put food on the table and keep the children out of trouble. For most of my childhood, my family received public assistance,” said Yang. “My parents instilled in me and my five siblings, the belief that the American Dream is achievable through hard work and education.
Yang holds a B.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and a J.D. from the University of Minnesota Law School.
Yang most recently served as an investigator with the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights (MDCR). Prior to joining the MDCR, he owned a solo practice in Minneapolis focusing on family law and other civil matters. While in solo practice, he also served on the Commitment Defense Panel of the Hennepin County Bar Association representing people threatened with commitment for mental illness and/or chemical dependency. Before opening up his private practice, Yang worked for the Legal Aid Society of Minneapolis as a staff attorney / Equal Justice Works Fellow, advocating for limited English proficiency persons in the areas of housing and social services.