Yang to run, for Minneapolis 5th ward this time

Mai Neng Moua and Blong Yang enjoy a joke with friends after fixing Pho, a beef soup, for supporters. (Photo by Margo Ashmore)

“We surprised people. In any other election 28,000 votes would have won,” said Blong Yang of his second place finish in the special District 2 Hennepin County race.

Running this time for Fifth Ward Minneapolis City Council, he noted a strong showing, 4,641 votes, versus Linda Higgins among Fifth Ward voters in the county race.

Yang’s wife Mai Neng Moua, introducing him at a Pho-raiser (beef soup served for a fundraiser) at their home March 16, said “we’re doing this again because we need someone who understands people in North Minneapolis.” We’re all underdogs, she said.

Reminiscent of current council member Don Samuels’ housing choice, “Blong [then a Legal Aid attorney] bought a house in North Minneapolis, “ Moua said, “ because there needed to be more good people in the city, a critical mass, to make things happen.”

Moua said she and her husband both came from families on public assistance whose goals were to “put food on the table and keep their kids out of trouble. We believe in the American Dream and hard work.” They accomplished their parents’ dream that they would use the brain, not physical strength, and so they feel bound to use their abilities to build community.

Yang said he will seek the DFL endorsement “and after that, a run to November 5th” and Ranked Choice voting, whether or not endorsed. “I want to connect with every voter in the ward, to let them know I have their best interest at heart and will work for them.”

In the County Commissioner race, the ground game was “we worked our butts off,” with grassroots organizing with “fearless” students, college kids and recent graduates.

Yang told NorthNews his issues are “Safety—if we can take care of that, everything comes to Minneapolis. Economic development is tied to safety; if it’s safe, businesses will want to locate here. The city needs to do a better job of protecting and recruiting businesses.”

“The Civil Rights Department” is another big issue, there may be “lofty goals, but if we don’t fund compliance it’s just lip service. Minneapolis has a rich history of civil rights,” from the days of Hubert Humphrey.

Housing—preserving what we have, letting people rehab housing, thinking about more options. “There’s a fear about complexes bringing in just poor people. I would like to see mixed-income. If we can keep the peace and make it safe, anyone would want to live here.

Announced candidates so far are relatively young, and their issues similar. Yang said “we may approach things differently because of our youth. Folks may look at me as an interloper, who doesn’t belong. People forget that the Hmong people live here. I want to see people recognize we’re an integral part of the community and I would represent all people. I would be much more representative of the ward, with a keen knowledge of issues within my community as well.”

Yang said he would not be surprised if still more candidates announce for the post. Brett Buckner and Ian Alexander were profiled in the February and March NorthNews.

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    Margo Ashmore's picture
    Margo Ashmore

    Margo Ashmore is the editor of NorthNews.

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    Will NOT support Blong Yang

    Blong Yang is a phony. First off, just last year when Blong Yang ran for Commissioner, he said publically that he "is not a seasoned politician who runs from position to position", so why is Blong running for City Council now that he has lost the Commissioner position? In addition, during Blong's campaign, he also stated "I don't want the Hmong votes" so why should we support someone who has internalized hate against his own community?  If he does not even respect his own ethnic group, why would he support other communities of color? I will not be voting for him. My family will not either.

    re: Will NOT support Blong Yang

    Dear Proud Minneapolis Mom,

    I know Mr. Yang pretty well, and in fact volunteered on his campaign. The notion that he does not want the Hmong votes is false. He was able to inspiring many voting blocs that helped carried him during the primary. The claim that he does not respect communities of color? Well, do your fact checking before making a fool of yourself. He was the only candidate who had broad support from all spectrums in a non-partisan race.

    I am from the African-American community and supported him. Your intention to sabotage Mr. Yang is baseless. I'd be more than happy to discuss with you or anyone else about Mr. Yang so people like you don't go around looking foolish.

    Respectfully,

     Very Proud North Minneapolis Mom