Mee Moua

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Mee Moua
Mee Moua Oct 30 2008.jpg
Member of the Minnesota Senate
from the 67th district
In office
February 4, 2002 – January 3, 2011
Preceded by Randy Kelly
Succeeded by John Harrington
Personal details
Born (1969-06-30) June 30, 1969 (age 48)
Xieng Khouang, Laos
Political party Democratic Farmer Labor Party
Spouse(s) Yee Chang
Children 3
Residence Saint Paul, Minnesota
Alma mater Brown University
Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs
University of Minnesota Law School

Mee Moua (RPA: Qaav Ruom, born June 30, 1969 in Xieng Khouang, Laos), is a Hmong American politician, and is the former president and executive director of the Asian Americans Advancing Justice -AAJC(Advancing Justice-AAJC)[1] She served as the vice president for strategic impact initiatives at the Asian & Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF) from 2011–12,[2] and as a member of the Minnesota state senate from 2002-11.[3][4] On February 3, 2017, Moua announced her departure from AAJC to "spend more time with her family, for her children and their future, and being the right kind of mom for them."[5]

Early life and education[edit]

Moua's father was a medic in the Vietnam War. At the end of the war, her family fled to Thailand when Moua was five years old. In 1978 her family, along with other Hmong refugees, moved to the United States.[6]

Moua obtained an undergraduate degree from Brown University, a master's degree in public policy from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, and a Juris Doctor from the University of Minnesota Law School.

Minnesota State Senate[edit]

Moua was the first Hmong American woman elected to a state legislature, where she served as a member of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party. She represented District 67 in the Minnesota Senate, which includes portions of the city of Saint Paul in Ramsey County, which is in the Twin Cities metropolitan area.[7] On May 16, 2010, she announced that she would not run for a third term.[8]

Moua chaired the Judiciary Committee and held the highest office of any Hmong American politician. She also served on the senate's Taxes and Transportation committees, and was a member of the Finance subcommittee for the Public Safety Budget Division and the Transportation Budget and Policy Division, of the Judiciary Subcommittee for Data Practices, and of the Taxes Subcommittee for the Property Tax Division.[9]

Moua was first elected with 60 percent of the vote in a special election held on January 29, 2002. She succeeded Senator Randy Kelly, who resigned after being elected mayor of Saint Paul. She was re-elected in November 2002 and, again, in November 2006.[7]

In May 2010, Moua announced that she would not seek re-election.[10] She said "My decision not to run was about my children and their future, and being the right kind of mom for them."[11]

Campaign finance[edit]

In 2002, Moua spent $45,852 on her campaign, including $11,200 in campaign matching funds.[12] Her opponent in the 2002 race for MN Senate district 67, David Racer (R), received matching funds in the amount of $7,706.[12][13] In order to receive matching funds a candidate must also raise a specified amount in individual contributions and agree to campaign spending limits.[14] Moua received individual donor contributions in the amount of $21,599 in 2006.[15] In 2006 she only had a single donor who contributed the $500 maximum under Minnesota campaign finance laws.[16] The majority, $18,899 of her $21,599 in individual contributions, were from individual contributors donating $100 or less.[17] She received matching funds in the amount of $15,794.[18] Her Republican challenger, Richard Mulkern, received $9,982 in matching funds.[19][20]

Per diem criticism[edit]

In 2008, Minnesota public records indicated that Moua claimed $21,954 in per diem, the most of any senator, and effectively increased her compensation by 71 percent.[21][22] In response to Moua leading the senate with her per diem claims, Republican Senator Dick Day stated "I don't know how someone like Sen. Moua who lives a few miles from the Capitol can justify to her constituents spending taxpayer dollars so recklessly."[23] A study looking at per diem claims from 2009–10, Moua topped the list at $35,136.[24] Also in 2010, CBS News noted that Moua as the top per diem taker.[25]


She is married to Yee Chang, with whom she has three children.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Former Minnesota State Senator Mee Moua to Lead AAJC | Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC". Retrieved 2016-03-10. 
  2. ^ Forum, Asian & Pacific Islander American Health. "APIAHF Announces Vice Presidents for Strategy and Impact: APIAHF". Retrieved 2016-03-10. 
  3. ^ Radio, Minnesota Public. "MPR: New senator makes history". Retrieved 2016-03-10. 
  4. ^ Press, Pioneer. "Moua won't seek re-election in Senate – Twin Cities". Retrieved 2016-03-10. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ Swanson, William. "Mee Moua in the Age of Obama | Features | Mpls.St.Paul Magazine +". Archived from the original on 2011-06-14. Retrieved 2010-07-20. 
  7. ^ a b "Minnesota Legislators Past & Present - Legislator Record - Moua, Mee". Retrieved 2010-07-20. 
  8. ^ "Sen. Moua will not run for reelection". Retrieved 2010-07-20. 
  9. ^ "Moua, Mee - Legislator Record - Minnesota Legislators Past & Present". Retrieved 2016-03-10. 
  10. ^ Nelson, Tim. "21 lawmakers not seeking re-election in Minn. Legislature". Retrieved 2016-03-10. 
  11. ^ "State Sen. Mee Moua caught in housing crisis when parents' home is foreclosed". MinnPost. Retrieved 2016-03-10. 
  12. ^ a b[{1|gro=y,d-eid
  13. ^ "MN Campaign Finance Board report of 2002 subsidy payments" (PDF). MN Campaign Finance Board. 
  14. ^ "2006 MN Campaign Finance Summary Report" (PDF). MN Campaign Finance Board. 
  15. ^ "2006 Campaign Finance filings". MN Campaign Finance Board. 
  16. ^
  17. ^ "2006 Campaign Finance Report". MN Campaign Finance Board. 
  18. ^[{1|gro=d-eid,y{1|
  19. ^ [{1|gro=d-eid,y{1| Follow The Money: Mee Moua campaign contributions 2006
  20. ^ "2006 Campaign Finance Report". MN Campaign Finance Board. 
  21. ^ "Political Notebook: Sen. Day boasts lowest per diem". Retrieved 2016-03-10. 
  22. ^ "Lawmaker per diems challenged – Twin Cities". Retrieved 2016-03-10. 
  23. ^
  24. ^ Grovum, Jake. "Per diems a bipartisan affair". Politics in Minnesota. Retrieved 2016-03-10. 
  25. ^ Kessler, Pat. "Reality Check: 2010 Senate, House Per Diems". Retrieved 2016-03-10. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Randy Kelly
Member of the Minnesota Senate from the 67th District
2002 – 2011
Succeeded by
John Harrington