Three St. Paul City Council members seeking re-election this fall received the city DFL party's stamp of approval Sunday.
Council Members Rebecca Noecker, Mitra Jalali and Nelsie Yang were all endorsed by DFLers at conventions that immediately followed caucuses Sunday afternoon. The party combined the two processes in wards where an incumbent candidate ran uncontested.
"I'm so proud of the progress we've made in eight years — and I know we have so much more work to do," Noecker told an audience of about 200 in the Humboldt High School auditorium, in a speech asking delegates for support as she seeks a third four-year term representing St. Paul's Second Ward.
Four of the council's seven members are stepping down at the end of the year, spurring open races in the First, Third, Fifth and Seventh wards. DFLers in those parts of the city caucused Sunday and elected delegates for ward conventions in April, when the party's endorsements will be decided.
Election Day is Nov. 7, and elected council members will take office in January 2024.
The DFL's nod has long been a key endorsement in a city that consistently votes blue. Candidates who receive the endorsement also get resources from the party, including volunteer support and coordinated campaigning.
Residents who attended caucuses heard speeches from candidates and had the chance to ask questions of campaigns. Topics ranged from rent control to snow plowing to public safety.
On St. Paul's East Side, blue signs lining the walkway to Hazel Park Preparatory Academy read: "Nelsie Yang for St. Paul City Council Ward 6." Inside the school early Sunday afternoon, music bumped and neighbors chatted over snacks before caucusing.
Minutes later, Yang popped into a caucus room and thanked DFLers for turning out. She spoke briefly about a few of her policy positions, highlighting the future development of the former Hillcrest Golf Course, a 112-acre site that the St. Paul Port Authority is planning to use for 1,000 new units of housing and 1,000 new jobs.
"It is the most exciting time to live on the East Side of St. Paul. Thank you for your investment in our community. Thank you for continuing to choose the East Side as your home," Yang said.
Yang is running for a second term leading St. Paul's Sixth Ward. Jalali, who first joined the council after a special election in 2018, is seeking her second full term representing the Fourth Ward.
"Our work isn't finished, but together, we're leading progress for our city," Jalali wrote in a tweet Sunday.
Four St. Paul school board seats will also be on the ballot this fall. Delegates will endorse candidates for those offices at the citywide DFL convention June 11.