Author Archives: stpauldfl

Meet the Candidates: Mitra Jalali Nelson for Ward 4!

Next up in our DFL Candidate series–Mitra Jalali Nelson, Ward 4 Council Member. We asked Mitra a few questions too. Here are her answers:

Why did you decide to run?

I ran for City Council in 2018 to be a new progressive voice for the future of our city. I’m running for my first full term this year to keep leading change in Mitra 2four key areas: attainable and affordable housing and home ownership, community-first public safety, transportation and sustainability, and building our community wealth. I’m also running to do something much bigger and deeper, which is to change the way our government engages with residents. I believe that no matter how long you’ve lived here or where you call home, you have a stake and a say in the future of our city. In this time of great change and potential for our city’s future, I’m running to keep organizing for progress that brings all of us with it.

How do you see your ward 30 years from now? 

I would love our part of the city, and all of St. Paul, to be a thriving, safe community where everybody has a great place to live, a well-paying job that amply covers the costs Mitra 3of living and gives people something leftover to save or reinvest in our local economy, where our city-funded parks and library systems are even more equitable and accessible to all kids and families, where public transportation is free and equitably built out throughout our city to reduce our dependency on cars, where our imagination around public safety has grown beyond punishment and incarceration to instead support a range of interventions for youth and people struggling with a range of issues, where our elected and community leaders fully reflect the experiences and values of those who live here, and where everyone can fully be who they are.

How do you plan to govern in a way that is inclusive, creative and equitable?

I ran for City Council not only to take action on the issues facing our city’s future, but to change the way our city engages with residents. I’ve returned Mitra 4regular office hours to Ward 4 in all our neighborhoods, have pushed for district council reform and resources to ensure these city-funded engagement bodies are more innovative and representative, organized our first-ever Renter Voice Summit and am leading the 2020 Census effort in Ramsey County so that all of us can be counted. I ran to bring everybody to the table, and I’m running again to keep opening up our processes to all.

What’s the last book you read?

I’m currently reading The Green New Deal by Jeremy Rifkin. It lays out the case for a massive rethinking and public investment in our economic and energy infrastructure for both action on climate and a more sustainable world.

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Favorite restaurant/ dish in St. Paul or your ward.

On’s Thai Kitchen off the Snelling stop of the Green Line is the undefeated champion.

Tell us a fun fact about your ward.  

Nearly half of all local St. Paul breweries are located in Ward 4, and we also have the first-ever Ethiopian consulate office, the longtime Eritrean Community Center, historic Korean, African and African-American businesses in the Midway, and so many more unique ‘first’ or ‘historic’ features that tell our diverse city story.  I’m so proud to represent us at City Hall!

Mitra July 4 parade

Visit Mitra’s campaign online at:

Connect with Mitra’s campaign on Facebook at:

Meet the Candidates: Chris Tolbert for Ward 3!

Next up: DFL endorsed Chris Tolbert for Ward 3 City Council! Here are a few questions we asked Chris:

Why did you decide to run?

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It is an honor and a privilege to represent Ward 3 on the St. Paul City Council. We have accomplished so much to make Mac-Groveland, West Seventh, Highland Park and all of St. Paul a better place for all people. However, we still have much to do to ensure that St. Paul continues to be the city that offers opportunity, safety, and prosperity for all. That is why I am asking for your support, as I seek reelection to represent you and our neighborhood on the St. Paul City Council.

How do you see your ward 30 years from now?

Together, over the last seven years we have succeeded in making major strides in transportation, housing, and for living wage jobs in St. Paul. We have made St. Paul a more vibrant, welcoming, and modern city. And we can continue that momentum and ensure that St. Paul is vibrant and opportunity is available for everyone— now and for generations to come.

Tolbert 3My vision for the future of Ward 3 & St. Paul is a community where every child has an opportunity to succeed, where every adult has a safe, affordable, place to live and a family providing job, and every aging resident can live in dignity.  I believe we can do this by moving our city forward, while still honoring the things that have made St. Paul a special place for decades.

How do you plan to govern in a way that is inclusive, creative and equitable?

Governing in an inclusive, creative and equitable way is the only way to govern as a representative of the people.  The more we can engage, listen, and learn from as many diverse stakeholders— particularly stakeholders that historically have been under represented or made to feel unwelcome—  is vital for good government as well as good decision making.  As I have during my time on the City Council, I will seek out people and their advice, whether that means individual conversations in the neighborhood, phone calls, email exchanges, community meetings, going into their living-rooms, door knocking, or other ways to communicate with people.  If re-elected, I will continue to be an engaged, open-minded and accessible councilmember, because robust discussion pushes me to be a better representative.

What’s the last book you read?

I just had the pleasure of re-reading Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein. The book is just as fantastic as an adult as it was as a kid. Tolbert 2

Tell us a fun fact about your ward.  

It was once called “Old Rum Town.”

Favorite restaurant/ dish in your ward?

Highland Grill’s sweet potato fries or hash browns.


Visit Chris’ campaign website at

Connect with him on Facebook at


Meet the Candidates: Rebecca Noecker for Ward 2!

Rebecca Noecker is the DFL endorsed city council candidate running in Ward 2. We asked Rebecca a few questions that we want to share with you.

Why did you decide to run?

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I decided to run for office because I wanted to do my part to make my community better.  I love people, I love solving complex problems and I don’t shy away from tough decisions – so politics has always appealed to me.  I grew up in a family that was always involved in the community from building neighborhood playgrounds to serving on school committees.  My Jewish faith has instilled in me the belief that engaging in the life of the community is not an option – it’s a responsibility. From my experience teaching middle school in a low-income neighborhood in Baton Rouge to working at non-profits in India and Uganda,  I’ve seen how communities can suffer when government is dysfunctional, exclusive or interested only in serving the privileged. I strive every day to be a different kind of public servant, to listen closely, meet people where they are, share my thoughts honestly and work hard to get things done for my constituents.

How do you see your ward 30 years from now?

In 2049, I hope Ward 2 will be a bustling, healthy place where our neighborhoods have grown to accommodate our increased population while retaining their unique identities.  I hope we have Noecker Family-8better transit options and safer roads, especially on W. 7th St, Grand Ave, Lexington and Cesar Chavez. I hope our streets are in better repair because we have found dedicated revenue to do the maintenance our roads need every year.  New businesses should be opening in our neighborhoods, providing essential, walkable services to residents and also shouldering more of our tax burden. All St. Paul families will be thriving because our neighborhoods are home to hundreds of more units of affordable housing, our $15 minimum wage and earned sick and safe time ordinances are in full effect, and all St. Paul families have access to high-quality, affordable early childhood education.

How do you plan to govern in a way that is inclusive, creative and equitable?

I believe the best way to represent the people of Ward 2 is to listen to as many residents, business owners and other stakeholders as often as I can.  I hold regular Community Coffees and Happy Hours in all Ward 2 neighborhoods to hear my constituents’ ideas and concerns. I’m always open to new ways of doing things – I never assume that we’ve got it all figured out. TheNoecker Family-3 best parts of my first term have been working collaboratively with neighbors and City staff to get things done. Revamping our skyway code of conduct to make our skyways cleaner and safer, building a new emergency homeless shelter downtown and saving our city’s oldest public building–the Hope Fire Station–were all ideas that originated or were pushed by constituents and I was grateful to be able to help make them happen.

What’s the last book you read? 

I’m just wrapping up Ants Among Elephants, a memoir by a young woman whose father grew up as a member of an untouchable caste in India shortly after independence.  It’s fascinating to compare Indians’ struggles for self-determination with the work confronting us in our own community today to make sure all our residents have the opportunity to live in safety, to prosper and to determine their own future.

Favorite restaurant/ dish in St. Paul or your ward. 

This is a nearly impossible choice! Ward 2 has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to great dining locations. One of my favorite morning spots is Cafe Astoria – I go for the neighborhood feel, the friendly staff and the delicious, invigorating coffee.


Tell us a fun fact about your ward. 

Ward 2 contains the only neighborhood in St. Paul that was made part of the United States by President Thomas Jefferson in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803.  (The West Side.)

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To learn more about Rebecca and her campaign, visit 

or on facebook at


Updated dates (posted 9/23/19)

The election is right around the corner and we hope you can join us in getting out our neighbors out to the polls.  Give Beth a shout at 651/247-7009 (text too) or on email at with questions!

DOW Date What Time Location
Thurs 26-Sep Coordinated Phone Bank 6-8:30pm AFSCME, 300 Hardman Ave. South, South St. Paul, 55075
Sat 28-Sep Payne Avenue Harvestfest Parade noon start, line up begins at 10am Line up on Rose & Geranium Streets
Mon 30-Sep St. Paul DFL Central Committee Mtg 6-7pm MN DFL, 255 E Plato Blvd, St. Paul, MN 55107
Thurs 10-Oct Coordinated Phone Bank 6-8:30pm AFSCME, 300 Hardman Ave. South, South St. Paul, 55075
Thurs 17-Oct Coordinated Phone Bank 6-8:30pm AFSCME, 300 Hardman Ave. South, South St. Paul, 55075
Thurs 24-Oct St. Paul DFL Executive Committee Mtg & GOTV Phone bank 6-9pm AFSCME, 300 Hardman Ave. South, South St. Paul, 55075


Meet the candidates: Dai Thao for Ward 1

Dai Thao is the DFL endorsed city council candidate running in Ward 1.

We asked Dai a few questions.  Dai Thao

  1. Why did you decide to run? 

I’m seeking re-election as council member because I’ve got the experience, a track record of getting things done, and the fire to fight for our DFL values and get our fair shake of investments in Ward 1. Now is not the time to press the reset button on the progress we’ve made the last 6 years because we are at a pivotal moment where we get to shape policies that will be inclusive and benefit the hard-working, courageous, and resilient people of Ward 1.

  1. How do you see your ward 30 years from now?

Ward 1 will be an international destination where everyone wants to be for the most diverse and authentic food, arts, culture, and parks. We’ll have complete and pothole-free streets where there will be no fatalities by car crashes.  We’ll have the most affordable housing options for families and seniors. Children will have access to a quality education in safe schools. There will be no more gun and domestic violence. Ward 1 will be the best place to open up a business, have the most good paying jobs and generate the most revenue outside of downtown.

  1. How do you plan to govern in a way that is inclusive, creative and equitable? 

I believe we can create progress for all when we stand united. As a political refugee, I know what happens under bad government – people become impoverished and die. This is why I govern with the ideals that government is for the people, by the people. This is why I fight to make sure regular people have a seat at the table. This is why  I’m in the community every day having conversations with people most impacted by our policies. I will continue to build, connect, and unite people across race, gender, religion, cultures, and neighborhoods to fight for one another.

4. What’s the last book you read?

All You Can Do Is All You Can Do, But All You Can Do Is Enough by A.L. Williams

  1. Favorite restaurant/dish in St. Paul or your ward.

I love pho noodle soup.

Dai’s campaign website is: You can also visit Dai’s campaign on facebook.

The St. Paul DFL endorsed for school board!

Our sincere congratulations to Zuki Ellis, Chauntyll Allen and Steve Marchese for their endorsement for the SPPS School Board! We are so very ready to work hard for your election in November!

We also want to thank all the countless volunteers who spent numerous hours from the very first caucus through all the ward conventions to the city convention! We truly could not have done this without you!!

2019 City DFL Votes for BOE