Melvin Carter is a fourth-generation Saint Paul resident, Saint Paul Public School graduate, former Saint Paul City Councilmember, father, and the first African-American elected mayor of Saint Paul. He lives in Saint Paul’s Rondo neighborhood with his wife, Sakeena, and three of their five children.
Melvin’s Saint Paul story began a century ago, when his great-grandparents came here fleeing racial violence in Paris, Texas to the promise for a better life in Saint Paul. He is the son of a police officer and a teacher (who later became a County Commissioner), both of whom instilled in him the value of community and public service.
Melvin’s passion for civic engagement began in 2000, when as a college student his brother-in-law was turned away from casting an all-important Presidential election ballot in a Florida polling precinct. After arguing for his brother-in-law’s right to vote and protesting that year’s historic acts of disenfranchisement in the Florida State Capitol, Melvin found himself on a path toward public service.
Since then, Melvin has been working to engage, enfranchise, and uplift people in Saint Paul and across the state and nation. He’s trained political candidates, community organizers and campaign staff in over 30 states with several national organizations, including Wellstone Action.
Prior to joining state government, Melvin served on the Saint Paul City Council from 2008 to 2013, serving as the vice chair of the Council for most of that time. Melvin served Saint Paul’s Ward 1 during the lows of the recession, when hundreds of his constituents were threatened with the loss of their jobs, homes, and stability.