Rank-choice race is in full swing, early voting is open
St. Paul’s ranked-choice mayoral race is in full swing with eight candidates vying for the seat, including incumbent Mayor Melvin Carter. Already, St. Paulites have been casting early votes as of Sept. 17, either in person or by mail. As the Nov. 2 election day approaches, here’s a brief look at those aiming to fill the mayoral seat for the next four years. Candidates are listed in alphabetical order by last name.
For voting information, including voter registration, polling locations and information about St. Paul School Board candidates who will also be on the ballot, visit: sos.state.mn.us/elections-voting/
*Denotes submitted biography. Submitted responses may have been edited for brevity and/or clarity.
I am the son of a retired Saint Paul police officer and a former teacher who now serves as Ramsey County Board Chair. I am a fifth generation St. Paul resident, a proud graduate of our local public schools and am a parent raising children in our city.
As the mayor of Saint Paul, I have sought to ensure that opportunity exists for everyone in this city, with an unapologetic focus on equity. We have raised the minimum wage, eliminated library late fines, provided over $4 million to families and businesses struggling through the pandemic and prioritized housing investments. We launched CollegeBound Saint Paul to start every child born in St. Paul with $50 in college savings, our People’s Prosperity Guaranteed Income Pilot Program and most recently the Office of Financial Empowerment.
We have revolutionized the way we govern from city hall by engaging our community members in the policy-making process, from community hiring panels to select cabinet members, to public processes guiding our approach on everything from budgeting to public safety. Throughout it all, my administration has landed spending under budget each year, grown our emergency reserves and improved our city’s credit rating.
I am seeking reelection because as we emerge from the pandemic, we will enter one of the most prolific phases of economic expansion in our city’s history. Our campaign—which we are calling “Run Saint Paul”—is about channeling the spirit of engagement in our city that afforded us incredible progressive victories during my first term so that we can meet this moment of opportunity with big vision and ensure that our city’s path forward is shaped by those who call it home.
There’s plenty of work yet to be done: driving safer neighborhood outcomes through our Community First Public Safety framework; housing and job development to meet the demands of our growing population and investing to ensure that every family in our community can access the greater prosperity our city has to offer.
I know the best is yet to come for St. Paul. Building a city that works for us all means we all must do the work, and I am determined to continue working to achieve the bold visions we have for our community.
A St. Paul native, Frost grew up in the Frogtown neighborhood. On his campaign website, Frost is described as having decided to run for mayor after recounting a childhood desire to play football on a well-kept field. Now, Frost observed, that field exists, but it does so with a fence and lock surrounding it, “locking away opportunities for neighborhood youth,” his website describes.
Frost was raised attending Shiloh Baptist and St. Peter Claver church services. He is the middle child and attended J.J. Hill, Murray Junior High, and Central and Highland Park High School.
In 2019, Frost opened the nonprofit 8218 Truce Center on the corner of Selby and Lexington in St. Paul. The organization seeks to empower youth to make positive choices in the face of violent crime. The Truce center aims to provide youth with effective communication skills to resolve conflict peacefully and provides children “an opportunity to belong to something positive.”
Frost has five children. His fiancé, Stefanie, was born and raised in St. Paul.
Dino Guerin is a lifelong Saint Paul resident and a longtime St. Paul firefighter, rising to the rank of district chief. Dino currently works at the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office as an investigative assistant. He has been the department’s lead person on COVID-19 preparedness efforts. Guerin has served the citizens of St. Paul for over 30 years. He was elected to serve three terms on the Saint Paul City Council in the 1990s. He was then elected to the Ramsey County Board of Commissioners, representing Saint Paul’s East Side. As a resident, firefighter and elected official, Guerin has established himself as a leader in public safety, partnerships and community engagement.
Positions on the following policies:
Public Safety: Advocate proper staffing levels for public safety based on the needs of our citizens. Increase police officers on the street to combat crime and protect citizens.
Economic Development: Let businesses run their own business. It’s in their best interest to provide competitive wages and working conditions. Let the market set the standard.
Reduce red tape to allow business to thrive. Reduce the tax burden on residents and businesses.
Public Service: All services should and will be reviewed to ensure they are of value and important to city residents. Conduct listening sessions throughout the city to determine what services are valued, wanted and needed most by citizens and business leaders.
Education: Motivate and encourage students to be the best they can be by partnering with local business leaders, athletes, religious leaders and community leaders.
Call on our adults to speak at schools, events and churches to show what can be accomplished when you apply yourself. Ensure that each student has the tools they require to be successful. Proper rest, nutrition, school supplies and a safe learning environment are crucial. Resources will be made available to aid and guide families in need.
Additional Initiatives: Promote the City as the family-friendly entertainment and work destination that it can be.
Minimize regulations when possible.
Rid the city of graffiti and litter and provide a safe and clean work and living environment.
As Mayor, I will enforce curfews for juveniles as one component of my policy to reduce crime and protect youth in our city. This will allow us to identify our youth that may need protective services, counseling or access to resources.
I’ve led a full and rewarding life. I’m now 59 and have been self-employed for 30 years as an architectural artist and as a downtown gallery and frame shop owner. My artworks specialize in St. Paul—my hometown. I also have an attached intimate music venue I designed and built. I renewed my leases in 2019 for 10 years.
My attendance record was near perfect when I served on three district council boards. I excelled in getting new faces to attend meetings and to run for board and committee positions and in ‘cleaning up’ and untangling bylaws and to enlist term limits for board and committee chair positions. I’ve run for St. Paul City Council, Ward 2, five times, placing second four times.
Thousands are disappointed in how little they are getting for their increasing tax dollars and ‘fees’. The massive, needless backlog in basic services like maintenance and repair work will be addressed. We will also work to install policies, via referendums if need-be, to ensure these conditions are not repeated in the future.
It’s time for a change at city hall. My campaign’s theme is that It’s time we place St. Paul back onto a higher track again. Restoring the public’s faith in city hall and reversing policies harming our quality of life are most needed, including getting crime and growing lack of accountability under control and reversed. Restoring safety, permanently, onboard public transit will be another priority. As well, plans to bring the ‘honor-system’ problems of the LRT Green Line, to the planned LRT line down West 7th will be addressed.
As a non-partisan Mayor, who isn’t a politician, whose had a wonderful 30-year career being a small business owner and volunteer in countless ways, I will bring back the fun, enjoyment and excitement that St. Paul once possessed. Will this require raising taxes? No.
Projects, in part, we together will work on: creating The Railroad and Riverboat Museum of Minnesota within financially failing Union Depot; bringing new life to our famous Winter Carnival, which is in real danger of moving to the fairgrounds in Falcon Heights and restoring our July 4th celebration, which united people across this city.
I’ve knocked on 75% of this city’s doors since my campaign began Feb. 25. I intend on lit dropping the balance until election day. This work ethic will continue if I become mayor.
Dora Jones-Robinson plans to make public safety her top priority if elected mayor, according to her website. Her strategy would be to utilize the latest technologies, such as Shot Spotter and others to keep St. Paul on top of gun violence, she says.
Jones-Robinson is the founder of Guns Down St. Paul and is the executive director of Mentoring Young Adults, a nonprofit that seeks to teach young adults leadership, employment and entrepreneurial skills, among others.
Jones-Robinson worked with on Mayor Melvin Carter’s campaign to get him elected but has publicly stated that she believes he is not doing enough to aid St. Paul’s unhoused populations. She has also stated that Carter is not doing enough to prevent gun violence, particularly among youth of color.
Jones-Robinson was a former resident to the storied Rondo neighborhood before highway construction displaced its residents.
As a native Minnesotan and proud son of a World War II veteran, Paul Langenfeld has called St. Paul his home for the past 40 years. Paul’s dedication to our community runs deep. He is the founder and president of the Langenfeld Foundation (est. 2006), an organization dedicated to improving the lives of those with developmental disabilities through increased access to opportunity.
Paul holds both a bachelor’s and master’s degree from the University of St. Thomas and has received many awards for his public service. Today, he remains firmly committed to the people of St. Paul and, as your next mayor, will serve as a catalyst to bring our community together and strengthen our city to create more opportunities for everyone.
Paul’s campaign is about putting common sense back into municipal government. He strongly believes that the following priorities must be focused upon for the City of St. Paul and its diverse people to thrive:
Law and Order: It’s time to prioritize the freedoms of our citizens, and their businesses, over the freedom of criminals. As Mayor, Paul will work to restore law and order in our city because our community cannot economically thrive without safe streets first.
Economic Opportunity: While major employers and multinational corporations continue to weather the pandemic economy well, St. Paul’s small business sector isn’t as fortunate. Without a healthy, vibrant small business sector, the quality of life in our community is adversely impacted. Therefore, it is incumbent upon our city government to provide us with a safe economic environment that is conducive to restoring and growing our small businesses sector.
With a strong small business sector, the citizens of St. Paul will enjoy a vibrant local economy and increased access to good jobs. Having a stronger local economy is foundational in providing increased access to economic opportunity for everyone in our community. Paul’s vision is to help build an economy in St. Paul that will work for all of us.
Infrastructure: Aging infrastructure remains a concern. It is paramount that we focus on renewing local infrastructure now given the increased national attention and funding coming from the federal government. Getting ahead on infrastructure not only helps to make our roads, bridges and walkways safer; rebuilding our infrastructure also helps to grow our economy, enhance our local competitiveness and creates good jobs.
My name is Abu Nayeem. I’m a programmer, data scientist and Frogtown community organizer. I have a Master of Science in agricultural a resource economics from UC Berkeley. I’m the founded and programmer of the Saint Paul Open Data Initiative. I’m the lead cleanup organizer in Frogtown and Midway. I’ve done some political organizing addressing the rise of catalytic converter thefts, creating a petition that received 1600 signatures, which led to a virtual town hall meeting bringing citizens and state legislators together.
My campaign is about giving voice to the disenfranchised and empowering citizens. Did you know two out of three registered voters did not vote in the last mayoral election? Disenfranchised citizens are fed up with the increase in crime and feel powerless. My top priorities are public safety, and citizen agency.
For public safety, Mayor Carter is supporting community alternatives to policing by underfunding the SPPD. This translates to officers being stressed, which increases the likelihood of officers making a grave mistake, and, for citizens who are victims of crime, they experience longer wait times for police response and more unresolved crimes. Instead, I take a ‘Yes and…’ approach where we can fund SPPD and support community alternatives.
For example, currently, Mayor Carter wants to spend $40 million of federal one-time money to create the Office of Neighborhood Safety, whose goal is to replace officers with social workers (or equivalent) to handle priority 4 and 5 calls. I agree with the goals, but not the execution. First, this program will increase the stress of officers who will now only be handling high-priority calls. Second, the program will put non-officer safety and the respondent at risk as these calls can escalate. My approach is for citizens to call a non-emergency line and/or call 911, and the operator can ask if a police officer should be sent. The citizens make the assessment of the danger and choose the appropriate staff to handle the situation (a co-responder is a possibility too). In addition, I want to implement 30% paid time for patrol officers to engage with the community building relationships.
For citizen agency, I want to implement a participatory budget in which citizens can allocate a portion of their taxes to public proposals, which are open to citizens and nonprofits. Citizens will be investing, leading their own initiatives and holding themselves accountable.
Wergin could not be reached for comment and does not have a campaign website.