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5 things to know about new St. Paul mayor Melvin Carter - Bring Me The News

5 things to know about new St. Paul mayor Melvin Carter

Melvin Carter's victory on Tuesday was a resounding one.
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St. Paul has a new mayor, with Chris Coleman being replaced by Melvin Carter III.

The 38-year-old won almost 51 percent of first-choice votes, providing a surprise Tuesday result in an election many weren't expecting a result in till the weekend.

So who is St. Paul's mayor? We've taken a look.

He's St. Paul born and raised

Carter was one of the few candidates for mayor who was born and grew up in St. Paul.

He attended St. Paul public schools and still lives in the Rondo neighborhood with his wife, Sakeena, and three of their five children.

His great-grandparents first came to St. Paul a century ago, fleeing racial violence in Paris, Texas.

His brother-in-law inspired his activism

According to his website, Carter became engaged politically in 2000, when his brother-in-law was turned away from casting his vote in Florida in the presidential election between Al Gore and George W. Bush.

Carter, who was studying at Florida A&M University, says he argued for his brother-in-law's right to vote and ended up protesting the controversial Florida vote – which eventually confirmed Bush's election – at the State Capitol.

His father was a police officer, his mother a teacher and later a county commissioner, who Carter says "instilled in him the value of community and public service."

He has political pedigree

Carter has been prominently involved in St. Paul's political scene.

He served a term and a half as the council member for the city's Ward 1, from 2008 to 2013, during which he founded the St. Paul Promise Neighborhood, which helps low-income families and children, and fought for tenants' rights and affordable housing.

He left in 2013 to go work for Governor Mark Dayton as the director of the Minnesota Office of Early Learning and the Executive Director of the Minnesota Children's Cabinet.

What he stands for

He's calling for reforms that will bring greater accountability, trust and more diversity to the St. Paul police force.

In keeping with his recent role with the governor's office he also aims to do more for the city's children.

That includes health services, affordable housing, partnerships with colleges, and affordable pre-school available to every child that wants it.

In terms of business and growth, Carter says he wants to ensure that the city's economic prosperity reaches all corners of the city, especially deprived neighborhoods that need it the most.

The St. Paul police controversy

Carter's call for greater diversity in the police force is topical given that he himself was on the receiving end of what was described as racial bias within the department.

After Carter was the victim of a burglary, the St. Paul Police Federation – which backed rival candidate Pat Harris – accused Carter of not cooperating with investigators, made insinuations about his ownership of two guns taken in the theft, and questioned the way his family reacted to the burglary.

The Police Federation Board apologized later, but it didn't stop current mayor Chris Coleman from calling on the board to resign, saying: "The racist attacks and hollow apologies of the last two days may have been aimed at one candidate, but they affect all people of color, and all people of character."

Carter will now be looking to work with police as mayor, with Police Chief Todd Axtell passing on his congratulations Tuesday night.

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