St. Paul, Minn. (Dec. 12, 2020) — The current and incoming members of the Legislature’s People of Color and Indigenous (POCI) Caucus have elected Rep. Samantha Vang (DFL-Brooklyn Center) as chair and Rep. Hodan Hassan (DFL-Minneapolis) as vice chair, according to a Saturday announcement.
With 16 POCI legislators scheduled to be sworn into office Jan. 5, 2021, the incoming Legislature is the most diverse in history. POCI legislators are serving as chairs for seven of 30 House committees, another historic first.
“I’m honored to be chair of this caucus,” Vang said. “Our state’s growing diversity has never seen itself reflected at the Minnesota Legislature and for the first time our growing caucus of 16 POCI legislators is at the representation we have never seen before. I’m excited to lead this caucus with Vice Chair, Representative Hodan Hassan, to further all our communities for the State of Minnesota.”
After members of the POCI Caucus led the Legislature in negotiating and passing bipartisan police reforms and accountability this summer, state lawmakers passed a resolution to declare racism a public health crisis and affirm that the Minnesota House will be an active participant in the dismantling of racism. The resolution created a Select Committee on Racial Justice, which hosted five meetings this fall to analyze legislative work through an intersectional race equity lens.
“I am humbled and honored for the opportunity to lead the POCI caucus with my sister Chair Samantha Vang,” Hassan said. “As we have witnessed, 2020 has been a year filled with uncertainty, a year that laid bare the inequities in our systems. Now more than ever, we need to be courageous leaders to be a real voice for our BIPOC communities and deliver real results.”
The People of Color & Indigenous (POCI) Caucus includes Reps. Jamie Becker-Finn (42B), Aisha Gomez (62B), Hodan Hassan (62A), Kaohly Her (64A), Mary Kunesh-Podein (41B), Fue Lee (59A), Alice Mann (56B), Carlos Mariani (65B), Rena Moran (65A), Mohamud Noor (60B), Ruth Richardson (52B), Samantha Vang (40B), Jay Xiong (67B), Tou Xiong (53B).