Six MN lawmakers form black caucus

Sen. Bobby Joe Champion, Rep. Rena Moran, Rep. Mohamud Noor, Rep. Hodan Hassan, Rep. Ruth Richardson and Sen. Jeff Hayden announce the formation of the United Black Legislative Caucus during a state Capitol news conference. Tim Pugmire|MPR News

Six metro-area DFL legislators are pledging to elevate and advocate for issues important to Minnesota’s black communities, including education equity and job opportunities.

They held a news conference Wednesday to announce the formation of the United Black Legislative Caucus. Three veteran lawmakers: Sens. Bobby Joe Champion and Jeff Hayden of Minneapolis and Rep. Rena Moran of St. Paul have joined forces with three newly-elected state representatives: Hodan Hassan and Mohamud Noor of Minneapolis and Ruth Richardson of Mendota Heights.

“It has taken generations to achieve the level of representation our community now has at the Capitol,” said Moran, who is serving her fifth term in the House.

“The six of us all represent different communities, different constituencies and have our own backgrounds and life experiences. But we come from one foundation that unites us all,” she added.

The lawmakers said they plan to address economic, education and criminal justice issues and the disparities between black and white Minnesotans.

Hayden, who is serving his third term in the Senate, said the caucus will be visible in its efforts. He also said the members will stick together on their agenda in the same way Iron Range legislators do.

“We are going to be a force to be reckoned with,” Hayden said.

The work of the caucus will focus on black communities, but first-term Rep. Noor stressed that it will impact many more Minnesotans.

“The issues that we’re going to be addressing is for all those who are underserved and underrepresented in our state,” Noor said.

In December, a group of newly-elected legislators of Hmong descent announced the formation of the Minnesota Asian Pacific Caucus. That caucus also pledged to work on equity issues.

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