St. Paul mayor's race: 5 in the starting gate

Melvin Carter
1 Melvin Carter
Age: 38
Born: St. Paul
Party: DFL
Photographed at Martin Luther King Recreation Center.
Melvin Carter grew up "right here," he says, standing outside the Martin Luther King Recreation Center in St. Paul. Before heading to Florida A&M to run track, he would run the sidewalks of the Rondo neighborhood in St. Paul, where his family has lived for three generations. "We have some really incredible history in St. Paul, in all of our neighborhoods. And that's our best foundation to build our future on."
Elizabeth Dickinson
2 Elizabeth Dickinson
Age: 56
Born: Lowell, Mass.
Party: Green
Photographed in the garden of her home on St. Paul's West Side.
Sitting among a bush of bleedings hearts in her garden, Elizabeth Dickinson recalls a long history of environmental activism and a shorter one of local politics. She ran for St. Paul City Council in 2003 and mayor in 2005. A life coach by training, Dickinson wants to engage anyone interested in politics. "I think there's a way to involve them and have folks feel like they're making authentic and genuine contributions to the city."
Tom Goldstein
3 Tom Goldstein
Age: 60
Born: Washington, D.C.
Party: DFL
Photographed at his home in St. Paul's Midway neighborhood.
A St. Paul resident since 1984, Tom Goldstein says he sees what he thinks St. Paul was, is, and should be clearly. "We've been trying to focus on being something we aren't instead of focusing on the real needs of the city," he said. After owning Sports Collection on Grand Avenue for 15 years, he sold the business to become more involved the community. As mayor, Goldstein wants to level the economic playing field for everyone, prioritizing resources and training over large development projects.
Pat Harris
4 Pat Harris
Age: 51
Born: St. Paul
Party: DFL
Photographed at Highland Park Community Center.
Pat Harris was born and raised in St. Paul, graduating as valedictorian of his class at Cretin High School. He said he has never found reason to leave. With his 16 years of work in professional finance and 12 years on the City Council, Harris wants to lead a city that he already calls "the best place to live on the planet," with smart budgeting and job creation. A father of four, Harris says he sees the city as a family. "In just the first year, we will come together so that no one ever feels out of place again in this city."
Dai Thao
5 Dai Thao
Age: 42
Born: Laos
Party: DFL
Photographed in St. Paul's Frogtown neighborhood.
Dai Thao came to the US as a political refugee from Laos in 1983. Now, he wants to give back through leadership, "I'm thankful for what America has done for me and I don't want to squander this opportunity." Representing Ward 1, "the heart of St. Paul" on the City Council since 2013, Thao says as mayor he'd focus on bringing opportunity to one of the most diverse parts of the city through aid for small businesses, as well as making public transit more efficient.