The 2018 Minnesota State Elections Hmong Candidates Preview

By Kim Yang











This summer and fall, the Hmong Times will be running a special 2018 Election Primer series to keep readers up-to-date on election news, voter information, candidate updates and much more.

A general election will be held in the State of Minnesota on November 6, 2018. All of Minnesota’s executive officers are up for election as well as all the seats in the Minnesota House of Representatives, several judicial seats, a United States Senate seat, Minnesota’s eight seats in the United States House of Representatives, and several seats for local offices. Special elections will also be held for a Minnesota Senate seat and Minnesota’s Class 2 U.S. Senate seat. A primary election will be held on August 14, 2018, to nominate Republican and DFL candidates.

The DFL has held all of Minnesota’s executive offices since 2011 after Mark Dayton was elected Governor in the 2010 gubernatorial election. They have held the office of Attorney General since 1971 and the offices of Secretary of State and State auditor since 2007. The Republicans have controlled the Minnesota House of Representatives since 2015 and the Minnesota Senate since 2017.

The DFL has held both of Minnesota’s U.S. Senate seats since 2009 when Al Franken defeated Republican incumbent Norm Coleman after a protracted recount following the 2008 election. Lieutenant Governor Tina Smith was appointed in January 2018 to replace Franken after he resigned following sexual harassment allegations. The DFL has held Minnesota’s other U.S. Senate seat since 2001, when Mark Dayton defeated Republican incumbent Rod Grams in 2000. Dayton did not seek re-election in the 2006 election and was succeeded by Amy Klobuchar in 2007.

The Republican and DFL parties held caucuses on February 6, 2018, in which eligible voters elected delegates that will endorse candidates at conventions held later in the year.

The 2018 midterm elections will prove to be very interesting. With the Democrats looking to gain a majority in Congress again and the Republicans hoping to keep control, then locally there are several key legislative districts open for the taking.

This November will see a record number of 11 Hmong candidates vying for political seats in Minnesota. There are eight candidates looking to secure Minnesota State Representative seats, one Hennepin County Commission candidate and two Ramsey Country Judge candidates.

Here is a look at the Hmong candidates. Over the next few months Hmong Times continue to keep readers informed about the election process and pertinent information.

Kaohly Her-DFL

State Representative District 64A

“As early as I can remember, my parents would say to me that the way out of poverty is through education. My parents were right. I believe that it is my turn to take all of that love, wisdom, and strength to pour back into my neighbors, my community, my city, and my state.”

Fue Lee-DFL

State Representative District 59A

Currently the State Representative for House District 59A in the Minnesota House of Representatives, Lee was elected in 2016. He is the first person of color and of Asian descent to represent that district in the Minnesota House. Lee is the fourth Hmong American elected to a state legislature.

Grace Moua-DFL

State Representative District 59A

“Government was intended to be of the people and for the people. My platform emphasizes sustainable affordable housing – not just rentals, but actual home ownership. I support economic growth and development alongside job readiness and training programs.”

Samantha Vang-DFL

State Representative District 40B

Samantha Vang, a longtime community organizer and Brooklyn Center resident is the daughter of Hmong refugees. Vang has worked on increasing voter accessibility and community civic participation and is a seasoned political campaigner and co-founder of Progressive Hmong American Organizers.

Jay Xiong-DFL

State Representative District 67B

“My family came to this country as immigrants and refugees. I have taught in our public schools, organized voter registration drives, mobilized the community, run political campaigns, and most proudly, I have had the honor to serve the great people of our state on the staff in the state legislature.”

Tou Xiong-DFL

State Representative District 53A

Tou has been with the DFL since he was 14 years old. He has volunteered, canvassed, and worked for the DFL ever since. He currently serves as a Council Member for the City of Maplewood, and he works full-time for the Ethnic Councils.

Adam Yang-Nonpartisan

Ramsey County Judge, 2nd District Court 11

“With my experience as an attorney for the past 19 years, I have passionately engaged in serving the community with patience, respect, and fairness. The people of Ramsey County deserve to be protected and to feel safe in their homes and neighborhoods.”

Blong Yang-Nonpartisan

Hennepin County Commissioner District 2

A former Ward 5 representative for the Minneapolis City Council, Yang has also worked as an investigator with the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights, a staff attorney for the Legal Aid Society of Minneapolis, an attorney in private practice, and is a member of the Hennepin County Bar Association’s Commitment Defense Panel.

Cindy Yang-DFL

State Representative District 40B

Cindy Yang has organized local campaigns and provided political consultation to several candidates and elected officials including Brooklyn Park City Council member Susan Pha’s victorious campaign. “I enter this race as a Hmong American woman who has worked in local politics for many years.”

Paul Yang-Nonpartisan

Ramsey County Judge, 2nd District Court 20

Paul Yang has practiced law for more than 15 years and has extensive trial experience in criminal and civil law. He is the founder and owner of his own law firm and works as a part-time assistant public defender for the State of Minnesota.

Yele-Mis Yang-GOP

State Representative District 42B

“I grew up in the St. Paul housing projects, I know what it takes to bring Minnesotans into abundance and prosperity. Our district deserves strong leadership and I’m excited and ready to work for you to be a strong, conservative voice for our community.​”