Melvin Carter is the 46th, and first African-American mayor of the City of Saint Paul, Minnesota’s Capital City.
A fourth-generation Saint Paul resident, Mayor Carter leads with an unapologetic equity agenda. Since taking office in 2018, his accomplishments include raising the city’s minimum wage to $15/hour; tripling free program in rec centers; eliminating late fines in public libraries; reestablishing an Affordable Housing Trust Fund; expanding immigrant & refugee support resources, and launching an Office of Financial Empowerment. One signature initiative is CollegeBound Saint Paul, Mayor Carter’s plan to start every child born in the city with a $50 College Savings Account, starting January 1, 2020.
Mayor Carter has a well-established commitment to police accountability and law enforcement reform. In the first 100 days of his administration, the Mayor worked with Saint Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell and department leadership to revise the Saint Paul Police Department’s use of force policy, which involved a 2-month public engagement process. He later temporarily suspended the Police K-9 unit pending a comprehensive audit of, and subsequent changes to, the unit’s policies and practices.
In 2019, Mayor Carter convened residents and local leaders to co-create a $3 million research-based public safety initiative centered around jobs & resources for youth, housing & mental health supports, and a public health approach to violence prevention. The public safety initiative also involves implementing restorative justice circles as an alternative to criminal prosecution for non-violent offenders and embedding social workers with police officers to co-respond to persons in crisis.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Mayor Carter launched the Saint Paul Bridge Fund to provide emergency relief to Saint Paul’s lowest-income families and small businesses most vulnerable to the economic impact of the pandemic. The fund provided more than $4 million of direct aid between April and June.
Passionate about helping others engage in civic processes, Mayor Carter has trained progressive activists and candidates in over 30 states, and commonly recites his administration’s mantra: “Building a city that works for us all means we all must do the work.”
Prior to his election in 2017, Mayor Carter has served as a Saint Paul City Council Member; Founding Board Chair of the Saint Paul Promise Neighborhood; Director of the Minnesota Office of Early Learning; and Executive Director of the Minnesota Children’s Cabinet under former Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton.
Mayor Carter is the son of retired Saint Paul Police Officer Melvin Carter, Jr. and a former teacher, Commissioner Toni Carter, who now serves as Board Chair of the Ramsey County Board of Commissioners. A proud graduate of the Saint Paul public schools, Mayor Carter holds a Bachelor’s Degree in business administration from Florida A&M University and a Master of Public Policy from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota.
He currently resides in Saint Paul’s historic Rondo neighborhood with his wife, Dr. Sakeena Futrell-Carter, and their children, just a few doors down from his childhood home.