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St. Paul decides on November 7

Election day is on November 7, and 2023 is shaping up to be one of the most important in recent St. Paul history. All seven City Council seats are on the ballot this year, with four long-term incumbents deciding not to run again, including Council President Brendemoen and Ward 3 Councilmember Tolbert. Additionally, St. Paul will have a ballot initiative, asking voters to decide on a 1% sales tax increase for roads and parks in the city and are being asked to choose their next four School Board members.

City Council

There are four candidates each running in Ward 2 and Ward 3, which represent the West End. In an effort to help you make your choice at the polls, we’ve asked each of the eight candidates a few questions about what we felt were some of the most pressing issues facing our neighborhoods. 

School Board

Seven candidates are running for the four at-large positions. Voters can select up-to four candidates on their ballots, with the top four vote-getters being elected to the Board.

The Community Reporter has surveyed the candidates to help you make your decision in the upcoming election.

More on the Election

We’ve got you covered on how and where to vote, as well as the issues on this year’s ballot. Keep scrolling to find more on the 2023 election.

1% sales tax increase on this year’s ballot

In addition to their next City Councilmember and School Board members, residents of St. Paul will also be asked to vote in the upcoming election on whether to approve an 1% increase to sales tax in the city.

Meet the 2023 Candidates

City Council

Ward 2

Peter Butler

What are your three biggest priorities if you are elected? 

  1. Repeal the Summit Avenue Regional Trail Plan.
  2. Ensure that basic city services are efficiently and effectively delivered.
  3. Represent the will of Ward 2 residents and businesses.

Bill Hosko

What are your three biggest priorities if you are elected? 

Laws protecting the rights of citizens, including families and children, to be safe in our somewhat battered but still beautiful city will be upheld once more.

The unprecedented neglect of the city and other public properties will be cleaned up and made beautiful again (in our first six months) and kept cleaned up. 

I will have weekly, in-depth, live streamed people/press conferences where everything’s in the open for discussion – including getting our exploding city budget and subsequent endless tax increases under control.

Rebecca Noecker

What are your three biggest priorities if you are elected?

  • Make it easier for working families to live in St. Paul by expanding access to quality child care, affordable housing and jobs 
  • Invest in our infrastructure, especially where deferred maintenance has taken a toll – roads, bridges, bike lanes and city buildings and parks
  • Expand our tax base and find reliable new revenue models to stabilize our city budget so we can preserve our high-quality city services and add new programs without unsustainable tax increases year over year

Noval Noir

What are your three biggest priorities if you are elected? 

We need to work as a whole, because it’s not just you. We have to convey and convince others what is important.

My priority is the opiate crisis – it’s big because we’ve been dealing with it for years. Over 5 million people have died since the 90s. Then we had COVID and, I don’t want to say we weren’t dealing with it, but it got worse.

You can’t deal with crime if you’re not dealing with the root. 40% of overdoses have been from fentanyl. If you don’t have a place to stay and you’re dealing with addiction, you need someone who will help you.

You can’t have city hall and these meetings if everyone is not invited to the table. I’m not afraid to talk to the people they’re talking about, they look like me. 

Ward 3

Troy Barksdale

What are your three biggest priorities if you are elected? 

  1. Increase owner occupancy in Saint Paul without also inducing gentrification in vulnerable neighborhoods. 
  2. Upgrade public safety to serve our city in a more equitable fashion. 
  3. Mitigate environmental hazards through proactive infrastructural measures i.e. upgrading our sewage system. 

Patty Hartmann

What are your three biggest priorities if you are elected? 

My 3 biggest priorities are public safety; development that is compatible with existing neighborhoods, preserving our historic and architectural assets; and the transparent, economical delivery of basic municipal services. 

Our police and fire departments need to be fully funded and supported, ensuring the safety of residents. Development should retain the character and livability of the existing neighborhood, preserving our historic, architectural assets and greenspaces, including the Summit Avenue streetscape. The city should not commit financial resources to new development projects or programs while it defers funding the repair of streets. 

Saura Jost

What are your three biggest priorities if you are elected? 

Transportation and Infrastructure: As a civil engineer, I will bring unique, technical qualifications to city hall to make sure that our roads, transit, and basic systems to not just be functioning, but thriving, and that means planning with an eye to the future to meet our growing needs and our obligation to climate justice. 

Housing and Local Businesses: The way St. Paul supports its families and local businesses will significantly impact its future. Everyone deserves a safe and stable place to call home. We need to add more homes so that families have a place to live which means encouraging density, affordable housing, and making modifications to our zoning code. 

Connecting with Community: As a community member with a family that does not look like many of the families in our Ward, I understand the importance of having a seat at the table when decisions are being made and to feel represented and heard by leadership. I also believe that our public leadership should be responsive and engaged with its community which creates a real opportunity to reshape the way we do public engagement and broaden our conversations to represent our community more fully. 

Isaac Russell

What are your three biggest priorities if you are elected? 

I believe my priorities should be the concerns of neighbors across the community. My top three priorities are public safety, core city services and roads, and building housing. It is important that we try to keep our property taxes manageable and make sure we are delivering on the basic city services residents deserve.

School Board

Chauntyll Allen

What are your three biggest priorities if you are elected?

  • Boost K-3 literacy by advocating for additional funding, educator training, staffing, and culturally relevant curriculum.
  • Fund technical education and trades to provide a broad set of options for students to pursue success.
  • Support additional pay for all educators through funding and formula changes.

Yusef Carrillo

What are your three biggest priorities if you are elected? 

A. Transform the culture of our administration to help them focus on transparency. Leading our schools from the bottom up rather than with a top down management structure. 

B. Revitalize our schools by focusing our efforts on developing strong, resilient and healthy school site leadership teams, composed of Educators, Parents, Staff, Students and Site Administrators. 

C. Make sure that our board and district truly engage with the community and stakeholders in our decision-making, not to buy in support for already made decisions, but to build our district together.

Zuki Ellis

What are your three biggest priorities if you are elected? 

  • We need to increase student achievement so our young people have access, opportunities, and resources for the best academic outcomes. 
  • We need to increase critical support services for our students so they come to school mentally and physically ready to learn.

We need to find more ways to effectively engage our students and families making them full partners in our educational strategies.

Carlo Franco

What are your three biggest priorities if you are elected? 

  • A budget that centers and prioritizes direct service and direct impact for our students’ future outcomes in literacy, college and career readiness and life.
  • Development of a stronger in-school and out of school time partnership between educators and out of school time providers, where our public infrastructure is accessible to the community and programming is maximized to provide the highest quality services to our youth.
  • Strengthened partnership with families, educators, frontline workers, students and community members to ensure our budget, our school policies & procedures, and culture reflects the needs of all members, while centering our youth and their education.

Abdi Omer

What are your three biggest priorities if you are elected? 

Number one priority for me is how to increase overall achievement of our district versus other districts and remove the problems that are the underlying that. I am also concerned about the achievement gap of some groups of our community.

Erica Valliant

What are your three biggest priorities if you are elected? 

  • Working to make sure our students are graduating with strong financial literacy skills while exploring wealth justice
  • Investing in ensuring access to quality early learning education and pre-k for all children
  • Addressing critical thinking skills and practice in the age of artificial Intelligence and addressing school culture and safety

Gita Rijal Zeitler

What are your three biggest priorities if you are elected? 
My three main priorities are education excellence with more choices of advanced and catch up classes, recruitment and retention of science, math and English teachers in urban schools and more involvement of parents and community members.

Updated 10/24 at 1:00 p.m.

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