Brooklyn Park will see its first City Council member of color, while incumbents in several closely watched races in Anoka County staved off opponents to hold onto their municipal and county positions.
Brooklyn Park residents voted in the City Council’s first member of color after political newcomer Susan Pha beat opponent Amy Hanson in the West District.
Pha, a founding member of a professional Hmong women’s network, said she wants the City Council to reflect the broader diversity of Brooklyn Park, where half of the city’s roughly 80,000 residents are nonwhite, according to Minnesota Compass.
“This win would not be for me — it’s for all the voices and perspectives that feel left out in our city,” Pha said before the election.
In the East District, another political first-timer, Lisa Jacobson, snagged a decisive victory against Reva Chamblis, while former City Council Member Mark Mata beat James Jackson for the Central District spot.
Anoka County Board
Incumbent Robyn West claimed a solid win against challenger Nyle Zikmund in a hotly contested race for the county’s Third District seat, which includes parts of Blaine and Spring Lake Park. West has served as a county commissioner since 2007 and said she believes her focus on cutting debt and taxes gave her a leg up with voters.
Three other seats were up for election, but incumbents Matt Look, Julie Braastad and Rhonda Sivarajah easily held onto their positions.
Mayor Tom Ryan won his sixth term in office after facing his first challenger in two elections, beating current City Council Member Jason King.
Ryan, 72, positioned himself as the candidate of experience, after nearly 20 years as mayor and 10 years on the City Council — a period of rapid growth in Blaine. The city’s population has doubled to more than 60,000 since the 1980s.
“I’ve worked on 29 budgets and am ready to get back to work on the 30th,” Ryan said, adding this will be his last term.