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St. Paul to swear in its first all-woman city council Tuesday

By David Schuman

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    ST. PAUL, Minnesota (WCCO) — Minnesota’s capital city will make history Tuesday.

St. Paul will swear in its first city council made up entirely of women. Six out of seven are women of color.

“I feel the weight of this moment,” said Rebecca Noecker, who’s starting her third term.

Hwa Jeong Kim, set to start her first term, says the historic council reflects what voters want.

“The city of St. Paul was ready for women to lead, but women with really clear, strong skill sets,” she said. “We all have diverse backgrounds and experiences.”

Anika Bowie, also starting her first term, says her election is humbling and comes with responsibility.

“There are certain lived experiences being a woman that has often not been set forth when it comes to policymaking and also when it comes to who we ask to be part of the table of decision-making,” she said.

Cheniqua Johnson and Saura Jost also join Bowie and Kim as first-time council members.

Noecker believes their energy as newcomers will be an asset.

“That’s just going to lend this sense of urgency to our council and this sense of connectedness to people we represent that’s really going to be unique,” she said.

Bowie, Kim, Johnson and Noecker all say affordable housing is a top issue for them.

They also mentioned access to child care, opportunities for kids in and out of school, reviving cultural festivals as well as making sure snow plowing is done right.

“I hope this isn’t the last time we have an all-women council, predominantly women of color council, because I want women to lead,” Johnson said. “I want women to take their seat.”

The swearing-in ceremony will be at the Ordway Center at 3:30 p.m. It’s open to the public.

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