Politics

Minnesota's capital city seats all-female City Council

St. Paul just elected an entirely female group of City Council members, all of whom are under the age of 40.

All seven members of St. Paul's new City Council stand at their inauguration.
City of Saint Paul
SMS

St. Paul, Minnesota, seated four new City Council members on Tuesday, and now has an entirely female slate of Council members. 

Additionally, all seven women are under age 40, and six of the seven are women of color. 

Anika Bowie, Saura Jost, Hwa Jeong Kim and Cheniqua Johnson became the Council's newest members. Rebecca Noecker, Mitra Jalali and Nelsie Yang all won reelection in their districts. All seven members are Democrats but ran on a nonpartisan ballot. 

Prior to Tuesday, two of the seven council members were male.  

St. Paul uses ranked-choice voting, meaning voters must rank their preferred candidates. If a candidate fails to reach 50% on the first ballot, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated. Jost, Johnson and Bowie all won their seats after lower-ranked candidates were eliminated. 

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The four new members and three returning members were sworn in Tuesday at a ceremony. 

"A city council's inauguration is exciting as is, but to have an all-women city council all under the age of 40 and the majority of whom are women of color leaves me, which is hard to do, speechless," said Minnesota Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanigan. "While this is historic, it also should be the way it is — the norm, the reality. It is my daughter's reality to see an all-women group of leaders."

The members will face challenges. From 2020 through 2022, the city lost an estimated 2.7% of its population, falling to 303,000 residents. In just those two years, St. Paul fell behind a number of other cities in population, including Santa Ana, Calif.; Cincinnati; and Orlando, Florida. 

According to data from the Center for American Women and Politics, 35% of municipal officeholders in Minnesota are women.