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“We share a common history and our lives are interconnected … I’m going to work hard for everyone,” he said.
Nix, who is endorsed by both Carter and his mother, Ramsey County Commissioner Toni Carter, said he has organized “an incredibly diverse team … and building the right partnerships to move the ward forward.”
Fresh campaign finance reports aren’t due until next week, so the current filings show little in terms of fundraising and spending with one exception. As of early July, Thao had raised more than $10,000 from more than 150 individuals and carried a balance of $8,000.
Two candidates who have secured party backing are Howard, who won the Green Party’s endorsement last month, and Paul Holmgren, a retail worker and accountant whom St. Paul Republicans have pledged to support.
“We want to make sure that from Summit to Front, everyone is comfortable in this ward,” Howard said.
Holmgren offers a distinctively small-government approach, saying that the city ought to cut duplicative tasks and analyze each ordinance to see if it’s necessary.
“A business owner said that all we ask you to do as a city is to plow our streets and keep them safe and nothing more,” Holmgren said. “If we took that approach to the budget, we could have a very livable city and would be welcoming jobs instead of wondering where they all went.”
Mark Voerding, an assistant to Ramsey County Commissioner Janice Rettman who also competed for the DFL endorsement, has long personal experience with the First Ward seat: He was an aide and campaign manager for Bill Wilson, St. Paul’s first black council member, who served for 14 years.
“I’m basically highlighting my experience working for both the City Council and the county, my knowledge of the district and the political process and how to get things done in City Hall,” Voerding said.
None of the candidates can claim closer ties to the office than Montgomery, a former police commander and assistant state commissioner who won election to the First Ward council seat in that 2003 election and then lost her re-election bid to Carter in 2007.
Along with Howard, Montgomery probably has the most recognizable name on the ballot. She said she’s running on the basis that she’s already proven in bringing jobs and economic development to the ward and building mixed-income housing.
“I was at the table fighting and negotiating and trying to get things done,” she said. “The things that people asked me to do the first time, I feel I delivered on what they asked me to get done.”
Kevin Duchschere • 651-925-5035