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Moua best choice for St. Paul district

Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN), January 11, 2002, Friday

Citizens on St. Paul's East Side are fortunate to have a good group of candidates running to represent them in the Minnesota Senate. Next Tuesday, they can vote in a special election primary to replace former Sen. Randy Kelly, who resigned after he was elected mayor of St. Paul.

Five Democrats will compete for the job in next week's election, and the winner will likely be the next senator. Candidates from the Republican, Green and Independence parties will appear on the Jan. 29 general ballot, but District 67 has long been a DFL stronghold.

Although the field of candidates is good, Mee Moua, an attorney with a Minneapolis firm, is the superior choice.

Moua, 32, is president of both the Hmong Chamber of Commerce and the Hmong Bar Association. She has done extensive lobbying at the Capitol for a variety of business clients and has developed relationships with political, business and grass-roots groups. She understands the legislative process well and that government, community and businesses must work together to get things done.

Smart, passionate and knowledgeable, Moua is waging an aggressive, well-organized campaign and mobilizing many in her community to become involved in campaigning and voting. She is reaching out to citizens across all race and ethnic lines _ particularly those who have felt they had little voice in government.  

Moua's family immigrated to America from Laos when she was 9. She graduated from high school in Wisconsin, went to college in Rhode Island and Texas and attended law school at the University of Minnesota. Her family has been in St. Paul since 1988 and she has lived on the East Side for three years. Her priorities as a senator would be adequate funding and support for education, maintaining and improving East Side housing and promoting small-business growth.

The Democrats each have different areas of expertise and have been active in their local communities. Rep. Tim Mahoney, 48, is a pipefitter in his second term serving District 67B. He has been an adequate legislator and can continue to serve in his current position. Tom Dimond, 52, is a restoration contractor who served two terms on the St. Paul City Council a decade ago. James Kielkopf, 33, is an economist with Conseco and president of the board of the East Side Neighborhood Development Corp. Michele Ford, 45, is an aide to the Senate Finance Committee, a student and a former candidate for state representative.  

Moua cannot claim a lifetime history in St. Paul like many of the other candidates, nor has she held elective office. Still, she clearly has the intellect, ability and drive to be a leader in the Senate with a lot of other strong personalities. And she would be an important voice for Hmong and other immigrant communities who need more representation in government.