St. Paul, MN—TakeAction Minnesota announced its endorsement for Bernie Sanders for President today. This is the first time TakeAction Minnesota, a multiracial people’s organization, has endorsed a candidate for President of the United States. The endorsement of Bernie Sanders unleashes the power of a 50,000 person progressive network in a Super Tuesday state.
When Kissy Coakley was denied a job at Target Corporation after a criminal background check, she didn’t give up. Instead, she decided to take on the massive corporation and fight for equitable policies. She worked to Ban the Box at Target Corporation in 2012, becoming an active leader in TakeAction Minnesota’s Justice 4 All program.
On Tuesday, November 5, we made history. I grew up never thinking people who looked like me could be in political office. St. Paul City Council has never had a Hmong woman elected. City Councilmember Dai Tho was the first elected I met in person who shared my Hmong identity. That in and of itself
Nelsie Yang’s 3-year-old niece was at her side when she learned that she’d been elected to the St. Paul City Council, after eight hours of ballot counting and 18 months of campaigning.
“I’m just so happy she’s here,” Yang said after her victory in the Sixth Ward race was called Friday. “When I was 3 years old, I never would have imagined myself being here.”
The newly elected women say the trend has been building over the last few years, and they credit each other for support and inspiration, as well as organizations such as TakeAction Minnesota, Women Organizing Women and Women Winning, aimed at encouraging women to seek public office.
Such women are “feeling a sense of confidence because they are seeing representation now that look like them,” said Pahoua Yang Hoffman, executive director of the Citizens League. “The community is also rallying around them.”
Buoyed by a series of powerful labor organizations, TakeAction Minnesota organizer Nelsie Yang defeated five fellow candidates on Friday to win the open seat on the St. Paul City Council representing Payne-Phalen and the Greater East Side.
A bevy of progressives are challenging longtime Democratic incumbents in the Legislature in next year’s elections, potentially sending more women, millennials and people of color to the State Capitol while shifting the DFL dialogue to the left.
This year they’ve trained 25 activists, including state Rep. Hunter Cantrell, DFL-Savage, and Chauntyll Allen, a candidate for the St. Paul school board.
What’s different is that they’re focused as much on governance as they are on winning elections, according to a memo from TakeAction spokeswoman Kenza Hadj-Moussa
They have a lot in common. Both are second-generation Hmong women under 30 who became progressive operatives despite expectations they would get well-paying corporate jobs, marry, and retreat to lives of suburban quietude. They’re also unlikely friends.
When I came to the legislature I didn’t expect to be working on taxes so much. But I’ve found that it’s a place to stand up for working people and those suffering under the deepest wealth and income inequality in generations. It’s a place to push back against the legacies of settler colonialism and slavery