Nyob Zoo, Hola, Assaalmu Alaykum, & Greetings East Siders! My name is Terri Thao and I am running to be the next City Council member for Ward 6.
I grew up in Saint Paul and have lived on the East Side for 12 years with my family. I have spent the last 15 years working on issues around community economic development, ranging from helping small businesses grow and thrive, providing funding for residents to buy homes, advocating for building more affordable housing, and supporting the growth of local jobs - with most of this work benefitting East Side residents.
I am passionate about these issues because growing up, my family did not have a lot of money but we had a home which provided stability for my siblings and me. My parents worked civil service jobs and eventually became entrepreneurs to help support us through college. I will be a champion for the East Side at City Hall.
We have so many opportunities: we have a growing youth population who will be our next generation of entrepreneurs; we have a new bus rapid transit line that will connect Ward 6 to downtown and northward to Maplewood and White Bear Lake; and a once in a generation opportunity with the redevelopment of the Hillcrest Golf Course.
As a parent, I am concerned about keeping our streets safe for pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers. I care about ensuring parks and other public spaces are safe for children to enjoy. Many neighbors I have talked to during the course of this campaign speak about improving public safety which is a key to our quality of life on the East Side.
A signature piece of my work over the years is engaging communities to help inform and shape the future we want to see on the East Side. While out doorknocking, I have heard amazing solutions coming from East Siders about how we can solve the problems we have in our community.
I believe that a good council member brings people to the table and by working together we can create the East Side we want for our present and our future. I invite you to join us and would love to be your first choice in this year’s election. I look forward to serving Ward 6 as your next City Council member.
Candidate for Saint Paul City Council, Ward 6
“We are so lucky to have someone who has been dedicated to making a difference on the East Side for so many years.
Terri will know how to govern from day one. She has the experience, the knowhow and the grit to be champion for all of us.
It is my honor to support our next City Council member Terri Thao!“
~ Jim McDonough, Ramsey County Commissioner
Get to Know Terri
I am a second-generation Hmong American woman. My family immigrated to the United States in 1976 where they resettled in Chicago. I was born in Illinois and am the oldest of six children. We moved to St. Paul when I was 7 years old to be closer to family and because of job and housing opportunities.
I grew up in the Frogtown neighborhood of St. Paul with refugee parents and we did not have a lot of money. As the oldest child, I earned money from small stipends until I got my first job at the age of 16. Despite this, my parents saw hope and possibility in the United States. They encouraged my five siblings and I to pursue higher education as a means to move out of poverty.
“My parents always reminded us that no matter our levels of education or income we were always supposed to give back and help our community.”
The Experience the East Side Needs
I have lived this value in the work that I do. I have participated in various activities that helped build and enhance my community. I was involved in the Thomas-Dale Block Club that sparked my youth leadership.
I gained strong work ethics at a young age where I managed several of my family’s small businesses. I attended the Humphrey School for Public Affairs where I gained the skills and knowledge of how public policy formed. I also served as board chair of many local non-profit organizations including (Neighborhood House, Asian Economic Development Association and the East Side Neighborhood Development Company). I previously served on the City of St. Paul’s Planning Commission and also assisted development of small businesses.
Currently, I am the program director of a local organization where I train and support leaders of color and indigenous leaders to participate in city and regional policymaking. I have been passionate about ensuring that the voices and lived experiences of our community are present at various decision-making tables.
I am the product of many public institutions including the St. Paul Public Schools and University of Minnesota. I am a proud mother of two children ages 10 and 8. I am also a wife, sister, daughter, and aunty.
Committed to Community
“I am running because we are the answers to the problems in our communities and we need someone on the City Council who can be a partner to these solutions.
I know we can do it together. I want to be a part of a community that my great grandchildren will be proud to call home.”
I believe in community. I am committed to building authentic relationships and dedicated to community engagement. I know we can build a better future if we are strategic, creative, and open to new change.
Racial diversity and economic equity matters. When we solve for the most vulnerable in our communities, which are communities of color and indigenous communities, we solve for many others.
I have a successful record of advocating for the East Side. Through my job and different boards I have supported redevelopment projects on the Phalen corridor and along Payne and Arcade Avenue. I also co-chaired the Grand Round Community Advisory Committee where I work to ensured that sidewalks and bike paths are developed along Johnson Parkway.