The 2019 race for St. Paul City Council got an early start Monday when a community organizer announced her candidacy for the East Side seat held by the council’s longest-serving member.
Nelsie Yang, 23, entered the race for the Sixth Ward seat Monday. The spot is occupied by Dan Bostrom, a former St. Paul police sergeant who joined the City Council in 1996.
“As a renter, millennial and working class neighbor, I am running for office to champion economic sustainability for families and businesses, equitable policies that promote and honor diversity and a safe and clean East Side for all of us to live in,” Yang said in a statement.
Bostrom declined to say Monday whether he’s planning to run for re-election.
“I never say anything until maybe December, January, something like that,” he said.
Yang is a graduate of Minnesota State University Mankato and works as an organizer at TakeAction Minnesota, a liberal advocacy group.
All seven St. Paul City Council members will be up for re-election in 2019. The new council will take office in January 2020.
The Sixth Ward, in the northeastern corner of the city, includes the Frost Lake, Hayden Heights, Hazel Park, Payne/Phalen, Phalen Village and Prosperity neighborhoods.
Yang said her family moved to St. Paul from Brooklyn Park after losing their home to foreclosure during the recession. In an interview Monday, she said she decided to start campaigning more than a year before Election Day because she wants to build support in a part of the city where voter turnout is historically low.
“This is really our opportunity to revitalize the City Council and just make sure we’re representing people,” she said, “because that’s what we’ve always needed on the East Side.”