Foung Hawj

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Foung Hawj
Member of the Minnesota Senate
from the 67th district
Assumed office
January 8, 2013
Preceded by redrawn district
Personal details
Born Laos
Political party Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party
Residence Saint Paul, Minnesota
Alma mater University of Kansas (B.A.)
Rochester Institute of Technology (M.S.)
Profession multimedia producer, legislator

Foung Hawj (Chinese: 侯祝福; Lao: ຝົງ ເຮີ; Hmong: Tswvfoom Hawj) is an American politician from the state of Minnesota and member of the Minnesota Senate. A member of the Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party (DFL), he represents District 67, which includes the east side of Saint Paul in Ramsey County in the central Twin Cities metropolitan area.

Early life, education, and career[edit]

Foung was born in Laos. His father was a military diplomat overseeing air deliveries of humanitarian cargo in Vientiene and Long Tieng.[1] He grew up during the Vietnam War and lived in refugee camps with his family before coming to the United States.[2] In 1990, he received his B.A. in Media Arts and Computer Science from the University of Kansas and earned his M.S. in Applied Science and Technology from New York's Rochester Institute of Technology in 2001.

Foung was a series producer for Twin Cities Public Television in the 1990s before starting his own multimedia business in 1996, Digital Motion LLC. He co-founded the Hmong-American DFL Caucus in 1992 [3] and other community organizations including Center for the Hmong Arts and Talent,[4] the Minnesota Hmong Chamber of Commerce and Gateway Food Initiative Co-op which launched the development of the Mississippi Market on East 7th Street.[5]

Minnesota Senate[edit]

Foung was one of nine DFL candidates running for the Senate seat in 2010, losing in the primary to St. Paul police chief John Harrington.[6] He ran again in 2012, supported by the Sierra Club and a broad coalition that included the Hmong-American community, but also Latino, Somali, and African American voters.[7] He emerged from the primary victorious, and went on to win the general election on November 6, 2012.[8] His special legislative concerns include economic development, education, housing, environment, and healthcare.[9] Some of his first term accomplishments for District 67 include new business developments on 7th Street, the Science and Education Center for Metro State University, and job creation dollars to boost the local economy.

He kicked off his re-election campaign on January 16, 2016 at the Carpenter Union in his district with well over 600 supporters in attendance. At the event, he expressed the pride in having the most racially diverse campaign team in Minnesota history.

Personal life[edit]

Foung is an outdoorsman and has worked as a videographer and scriptwriter, producing Hmong environmental videos.[10][11] He lives at the south end of Lake Phalen and is captain of a dragon boat team.[2] He spells his last name Hawj in RPA so that English-speakers can better approximate its pronunciation.[10]


  1. ^ Lee, Fong (January 14, 1995). "Profile: Television Producer Foung Heu". Asian Pages. 
  2. ^ a b "Biography". Foung for State Senate 67. Retrieved 8 December 2012. 
  3. ^ "Foung Hawj is seeking DFL endorsement at the Senate District Convention". Hmong Times. March 28, 2012. 
  4. ^ "Center for Hmong Arts & Talent (CHAT) - MNopedia". Retrieved 24 December 2016. 
  5. ^ "Foung Hawj is seeking DFL endorsement at the Senate District Convention". Retrieved 24 December 2016. 
  6. ^ Perry, Steve (June 7, 2010). "Nine vie for Moua seat; biggest primary field ever?". Politics in Minnesota. 
  7. ^ Moua, Wameng (2012-12-17). "The nice guy finishes first in race for St. Paul Senate seat". Hmong Today. Retrieved 2013-03-29. 
  8. ^ Melo, Frederick (August 18, 2012). "St. Paul: Foung Hawj's victory in DFL primary shows he got out the vote". Pioneer Press. Archived from the original on December 8, 2012. 
  9. ^ "Senator-elect Foung Hawj (DFL) District 67". Minnesota Senate. Retrieved 8 December 2012. 
  10. ^ a b Boyd, Cynthia (May 27, 2011). "Taking advantage of Hmong storytelling culture to teach conservation". MinnPost. 
  11. ^ Lymn, Katherine (May 15, 2011). "Film helps Hmong ease into outdoors". Star Tribune. 

External links[edit]

Minnesota Senate
New district
Preceded by John Harrington prior redistricting
Senator from the 67th district
2013 – present