“I truly believe that to those to whom much is given, much is asked in return. Public service is my way of giving back.”
Pakou Hang’s extraordinary journey began in a refugee camp in Thailand. The second of seven children, she and her family immigrated to the United States when Pakou was just 15 days old. The Hang’s originally settled in Appleton, Wisconsin, but they relocated to Saint Paul when Pakou was 12 to pursue better economic and educational opportunities. Pakou attend high school at Mounds Park Academy and went on to earn a degree in Political Science from Yale University.
After graduation, Pakou returned to Minnesota to work as a political activist at the grassroots level. In 2002, she worked for Progressive Minnesota as a community organizer and later as the deputy political director on the re-election campaign of the late U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone. In addition, Pakou spent two years working for an organization that promoted civic education in immigrant communities to try and get new Americans involved in the political process. Most recently, Pakou served as a field director for the Minnesota chapter of America Votes, a coalition of choice, labor, environmental, and human rights organizations that have come together to increase voter registration, education and participation in electoral politics.
When elected, Pakou plans to “convene residents, business owners, religious and community leaders to discuss ways to strengthen Ward Six.” She believes that “when we listen to as many voices as possible, we make sounder, more democratic, and more fully informed decisions.” This approach influences the way that Pakou hopes to address community problems on the City Council. She supports partnerships between schools, recreation centers, libraries, community-based organizations, and the business community to try and create both in-school and out-of-school learning for Saint Paul’s children.
Pakou is also focused on encouraging economic development on the East Side of Saint Paul. Over the last decade, real wages have decreased dramatically as many businesses have left the area. At the same time, housing on the East Side has become less affordable resulting in increased poverty levels, particularly among children and single-parent families. On the City Council, Pakou will fight to ensure that all workers are able to earn a living wage. She will work to support local small businesses and will broaden employment and training opportunities for East Side residents. Pakou believes that it is essential for the City to partner with organizations like the Port Authority, the Metropolitan Council, East Side development non-profits, District Councils and residents to solve community problems.
Pakou’s experience as an organizer shaped not only the issues that she believes are important, but also the way in which she seeks to address them. Her belief in finding common ground and engaging the broader community makes her the perfect person to represent Ward 6. Pakou is an exceptional candidate and Twenty-First Century Democrats is proud to support her as she works to improve the lives of the people of Saint Paul, Minnesota.
General Opponent: Dan Bostrom
General Election Date: November 6, 2007
General Election Results: Lost, 45.9% – 53.7%
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