Ramsey County Board of Commissioners, District 6

This is an open seat and a bunch of people are running, some more seriously than others.

Greg Copeland
Foua-Choua Khang
Clara O. Ware
Dino Guerin
Nick Muhammad
Ying Vang-Pao
Mai Chong Xiong (DFL-endorsed)

Greg Copeland

Greg Copeland is a Republican from the “let me tell you how much I love guns” wing of the party. He filed in Ward 6 because he was in Ward 6 before redistricting, and was dismayed to find out that he now lives in Ward 3. Given this, he would have preferred to run in Ward 3, and has no interest in moving (especially as he’s not going to win). Anyway, don’t vote for him.

Foua-Choua Khang

Foua-Choua Khang’s website was so hard to find, I didn’t run across it until I was researching Dino Guerin and turned it up in a Yahoo News article about the candidates. She works for Blue Cross/Blue Shield as a “Community and County Liaison,” which seems like a relevant position, and she’s worked on health disparities (specifically diabetes) in the Hmong community. She did respond to the East Metro Voter Guide questionnaire and I liked some of her answers: it’s a very business-centric questionnaire but in response to a question about what “employment-related proposals” she’d support and whether she understands that sick time rules are extremely inconvenient for employers (“What steps would you take to understand the impact of a policy on the many types of businesses in Ramsey County and how would you define any exceptions to those policies?”) she notes that her 16-year-old son was required to return to work making sandwiches before his quarantine was finished.

But she has no endorsements and doesn’t seem to be running a particularly active campaign. She looks like she’d probably be good in a lot of jobs, but I would not vote for her.

Clara O. Ware

Clara Ware’s campaign website is a Facebook page that was last updated in March to say that a fundraiser had been cancelled. You can read her responses to the East Metro Voter Guide here. Again, she looks like someone who’d probably be good in a lot of jobs, but I would not vote for her.

Dino Guerin

Dino Guerin was a City Council rep and a County Commissioner back in the 1990s, then crashed and burned with a criminal conviction over bad checks due to gambling debts in 2000. He opted for jail time over a conviction that would keep him from running again, and he’s been trying to make a political comeback on a regular basis ever since. His lone endorsement is Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher, who I don’t like, and his top issue is crime. I would not vote for Dino.

Nick Muhammad

Nick Muhammed runs a group called Black Civic Network. He has no endorsements listed on his website although this article about the six candidates lists Black Women Rising as an endorsement.

His website uses the term ADOS a lot. This stands for “American Descendent of Slavery,” and it’s a controversial term within the group it purports to describe, since it deliberately separates Black people whose ancestors were brought specifically to the US or future US and sold into slavery from Black people who came here as immigrants (some of whom are also descended from kidnapping victims, especially if they came from the Caribbean.) The Wiki article has a roundup.

Ying Vang-Pao

Ying Vang-Pao and Mai Chong Xiong are the two candidates I think are solid, qualified, and I might want to vote for. Ying Vang-Pao is a daughter of General Vang Pao, a major figure in the Hmong community until his death in 2011. (He had about 25 kids, I discovered as I tried to figure out a comparison to “daughter of General Vang Pao” that non-Hmong readers would grasp, and basically failed.) Ying is endorsed by retiring County Commissioner Jim McDonough along with a number of other notable local political figures. Her background includes political activism, volunteer work, and working with county resources to get needed help for her disabled child. She lists her top three issues as affordable housing, the environment, and public safety.

Mai Chong Xiong (DFL-endorsed)

Mai Chong Xiong is endorsed by the DFL and a wide range of other groups and individuals (most striking to me is that she’s endorsed by both the DSA and by Council Member Jane Prince — typically endorsements tend to sort themselves out by “this person got the lefties, that person got the centrists,” that’s not the case here.) Her background includes working as Council Member Dai Thao’s legislative aide. She lists her top three issues as affordable housing, the environment, and living wage jobs.

I am running out of time because the primary is TUESDAY. I think odds are really high it’ll be Mai Chong Xiong vs. Ying Vang-Pao in the general election and they both look like strong candidates. If I were voting in this race, I think I would cast my ballot for Mai Chong, although when the general rolls around I might take a closer look at Ying. I like the fact that Mai Chong has experience as a legislative assistant (that can be very helpful in terms of knowing how you get things done) and has such a wide range of endorsements (that suggests that a lot of people just think she’d be good at the job.)


In addition to writing political commentary, I write science fiction and fantasy. My book that came out in April 2021, Chaos on CatNet, takes place in a future Minneapolis. It’s a sequel to Catfishing on CatNet and signed copies of both books are usually available from Dreamhaven. You will also be able to get them from Uncle Hugo’s when it reopens at 2716 E 31st St! (and maybe by mail order now? I’m not sure how much mail order Don is doing while getting ready to re-open.)

I do not have a Patreon or Ko-Fi, but you can make a donation to encourage my work! I get a lot of satisfaction watching fundraisers I highlight getting funded (or, in the case of the Movement Voter fundraiser, continuing to raise money past their goal). I explained back in May why I’m fundraising for the Movement Voter PAC and that fundraiser is still active. (Also, I owe some embarrassing readings of my juvenalia to the Internet.)

I also went looking and found two DonorsChoose fundraisers for classrooms at Bethune Community School in North Minneapolis: math manipulatives for pre-K students (this is such a good idea) and a nice book organizer for a first-grade classroom where the shelving is coming apart.

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