St. Paul, Minn. (Nov. 19, 2017) — Jay Xiong has declared his candidacy for Minnesota State Representative in St. Paul House District 67B, the seat is currently held by nine-term State Rep. Sheldon Johnson, who recently announced his retirement.
Johnson is co-chair of the Xiong campaign. He called Xiong an experienced nonprofit leader, campaign organizer and legislative staffer who understands the legislative process and the need for strong progressive leadership.
“As a seasoned community advocate and successful grassroots political organizer, he knows the value of direct community engagement in the democratic process and will work hard to represent East Siders and all the residents of St. Paul,” Johnson said. “He has the heart and the smarts to do this job. I am proud to be his campaign co-chair and will be even more proud to see him as our next state representative.”
Xiong, who lives in the Battle Creek neighborhood with his parents and three younger siblings, was born and raised in St. Paul and attended St. Paul public schools. After high school, he graduated from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn.
Xiong co-founded two organizations aimed at engaging youth and the immigrant communities through voter education, voter engagement, voter registration and election protection campaigns. He ran several successful campaigns for local and state candidates, and served as a legislative staffer for the Minnesota House of Representatives.
Xiong said he will continue to champion the policies that Johnson has led for many years in the legislature. He said he will fight hard to ensure that resident safety and security, education equity, accessible economic opportunities, and social and racial justice continue to be cornerstones for a thriving East Side and a more prosperous Minnesota.
“As a Hmong American kid growing up in St. Paul, it was awesome witnessing Mee Moua’s historic election to the Minnesota State Senate,” Xiong said. “As a friend and mentor, she has inspired and supported me to pursue a life in public service. Today, I am so honored to have the support of my family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, and heroes as I embark on this journey to continue this commitment to serve and I will work hard to be worthy of the honor to represent the people of our House District 67B.”
Ward 7 St. Paul City Council Member Jane Prince, the other co-chair for Xiong’s campaign, said Xiong has worked as an advisor to her own campaign.
“I have also sought his ideas and input on city issues affecting the East Side community,” Prince said. “He has demonstrated the kind of energetic and thoughtful leadership we need at the legislature.”
Minnesota State Rep. Ilhan Omar (DFL-60B), is the first Somali-American Muslim legislator to be elected to a state office in the United States. She called Xiong a friend and congratulated his decision to run the Minnesota State House of Representatives.
“More than ever before, we need strong progressive voices like his at the legislature to fight for our community,” Omar said. “I know Jay will help ensure everyone gets a fair shake.”
Xiong endorsements so far include Minn. State Reps. Sheldon Johnson (67B), Fue Lee (59A), John Lesch (66B), Rena Moran (65A), Ilhan Omar (60B). former State Sen. Mee Moua (67), St. Paul School Board Member Marny Xiong, St. Paul City Council Member Jane Prince (Ward 7), Ramsey County Commissioner Jim McDonough (D6), and community leaders Roy Magnuson, Terri Thao, Abdi Nour Barkat, Pa Chua Vang, Sarah Walker, Paul Sawyer, Tong Thao, Mohamed Hadi, Chonburi Lee, Eric Foster, Daniel Yang and Tiphanie “PH” Copeland.