Longtime Ramsey County Commissioner Toni Carter, who during her tenure championed equity reforms — including changes to the county's juvenile justice system —announced Wednesday she will not seek reelection this fall.
Carter, 67, a former teacher and St. Paul Public Schools board member, was first elected to the county board in 2005 to represent portions of St. Paul. Carter was the first African American to serve on a county board in Minnesota and the first to chair a county board in the state. Her son, Melvin Carter, is St. Paul's first African American mayor.
"It has been my great joy to serve you as an elected representative these past 20 years — and as District 4 Ramsey County Commissioner since 2005 — supporting children, youth and families across many domains of everyday life," Toni Carter posted on Facebook Wednesday.
Carter counted work to reduce youth incarceration rates and bolster equity across the county among the board's most important accomplishments.
"The body of work we have delivered together is humbling — reducing youth detention center admissions and correctional out-of-home displacements by 85% and 74% respectively, establishing unprecedented housing supports for our lowest income residents, building Rondo Plaza, rebuilding the Dale Street bridge, and ensuring our Green Line LRT stops for all of us, all stand out as indicators of our countywide focus on equity and inclusion, and of our work to apply a community-engaged, data-driven equity lens across all county systems."
She also acknowledged serving as board chair during the COVID-19 pandemic and the unrest and racial reckoning following the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police in May 2020.
"These past two years have also proven to accelerate our work of ushering forth a community-engaged framework for inclusive and equitable economic growth. The impacts of this transformation will resonate for generations to come," Carter wrote.
Carter was born in Bessemer, Ala. When she was five years old, her family moved to Cleveland, where her father was a mechanic and manager in the auto industry.
Carter attended Carleton College in Northfield, Minn., and later completed her teaching degree at Concordia College. She relocated to St. Paul and married now-retired St. Paul Police Sergeant Melvin Carter, Jr. They have three children.
Longtime Commissioner Jim McDonough, 66, who represents St. Paul's East Side, also announced he is not running in 2022. McDonough, a tradesman born and raised in the capital city, was first elected in 2000 and served as board chair three times. He and his wife, Carol, have four children.
McDonough currently serves as vice chair of the board.