Mitra Jalali Nelson landed the endorsement of St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter in the race to replace former Council Member Russ Stark.
Nelson is one of three candidates running in a special election for the Fourth Ward seat. A former teacher and community organizer, she is currently the policy and outreach aide for Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn.
Attorney Amy Ireland and parks advocate Shirley Erstad are also running for the Fourth Ward seat vacated by Stark, who is now part of Carter's administration. A special election is scheduled for August.
In a statement Monday, Carter said Nelson "brings an impressive decade of experience to the critical work ahead of us.
"Right now, we need leaders who can unite us across issues and bring the community to the table," he said. "Mitra is the perfect choice to help lead that work forward on the Council."
Nelson has also garnered endorsements from TakeAction Minnesota, Rep. Ilhan Omar, DFL-Minneapolis, St. Paul Council Member Dai Thao and St. Paul school board Chairman Jon Schumacher. Her platform includes increasing St. Paul's affordable housing supply, boosting police accountability and expanding the city's transit system. Like Carter, she supports a citywide $15 minimum wage.
"This moment in our city demands continued progressive leadership and inclusive politics for the future of our community," Nelson said in a statement Monday. "As a renter, first-generation American, organizer and young person of color, I am running to bring underrepresented perspectives to our Council that will help us face the most pressing challenges of our city."
The Fourth Ward includes Hamline-Midway, Merriam Park, St. Anthony Park, and parts of the Macalester-Groveland and Como neighborhoods. Stark served on the council for 10 years before leaving take a job as chief resilience officer in Carter's office.