April 6, 2023

AAP staff report

Minnesota State Senator Mee Moua (DFL-67) announced this week that she will not seek reelection – giving pause for the community to appreciate that not only her victory – but her leadership in breaking cultural barriers in the state legislature will leave a legacy for generations.

The announcement comes as a surprise to a candidate that has won soundly in her three elections and would likely not have had much difficulty winning again this November.

“The time has come to start a new chapter in my life – one that puts my family first,” said Moua in a press release. “It is with this new focus that I am announcing that I will not seek reelection to the Senate.

“My life has afforded me the opportunity to see the best of what Minnesota has to offer,” she added. “Serving in the Minnesota Senate has given me the opportunity to have experiences and break down barriers that I never could have imagined.”

Moua said that she was blessed to be surrounded by an extraordinary group of staff, supporters and colleagues for the past nine years – that have given her the inspiration and strength to keep fighting for Minnesota’s future.

As much as for her own vision and leadership skills, Moua credits her campaign team with mobilizing supporters not only from the Hmong community, but the wider DFL base, Republican crossovers who said they liked Moua, and the disenfranchised base that saw Moua as an advocate for the underserved and unrepresented.

Moua said she considers her district representatives as a team with fellow District 67 State Representatives, Tim Mahoney (67A) and Sheldon Johnson (67B) – who have both been in office all of her nine years. Both had sought the open seat that Moua won – and have not yet announced an intention to seek the office.

“I will always treasure their partnership and I am forever grateful to my supporters for allowing me to stand on their shoulders as I have realized the greatest honor of my life – serving the people of Saint Paul’s East Side and the state of Minnesota,” Moua said.

“Above all – I am humbled by the sacrifices my family has made in support of my commitment to public service, sacrifices that were amplified by the recent loss of my mother-in-law,” she added. “Their love, support, and sacrifices made these ten years possible.  I want the next decade to be about my family and my children’s future.”

Moua won a special election in January 2002 to win the seat vacate by Randy Kelly, who won the election to become Mayor of Saint Paul. She became the first Hmong American to win a seat on a state legislature and forever changed the Hmong American experience and perhaps the refugee American experience in the process.

At the time, Mou said party insiders had other people in mind for the senate seat, and some said that “it wasn’t the right time” for her to run. Moua succeeded in her goal to block the endorsement of any candidate and came out on top of four candidates running for the open seat in the special election.

Less than a year later in November 2002, Moua increased her 51 percent victory margin from the previous January by taking a 60 percent win over Republican Dave Racer.

In the November 2006 General Election, Moua took 69 percent of the vote to defeat Republican challenger Richard Mulkern.

This past session, Moua authored a bill to expand the crime of identity theft that was signed into law. She said it protects from identity theft by including a five-year felony for unlawful possession of scanning devices or re-encoders in the identity theft law.

“With all the advances in technology, people are unknowingly having their identities stolen when they use an ATM or a movie rental machine,” said Sen. Moua. “This new law allows the criminal justice system to keep up with the new technology used by criminals and gives them another option when dealing with identity theft crimes.”

A scanning device is used to read or store information encoded on a card with a magnetic or electronic strip and is often attached to ATMs and other places where people swipe their credit cards. The devices often look like they are part of the machine, so people have unknowingly had their identities stolen. A re-encoder is a device that places encoded information from one card onto a different card.

Moua also authored the Domestic Violence Omnibus Bill that was signed into law. The Bill addressed changes to improve our criminal justice system’s ability to respond to domestic violence cases and address the most dangerous domestic offenders.

“I’m honored to have sponsored this legislation that will not only help protect victims of domestic violence, but will aide our criminal justice system when responding to domestic violence crimes,” said Moua.

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