Senator Foung Hawj

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Hawj Portrait

Senator Foung Hawj was elected in 2012 and represents District 67 in East St. Paul. He was born in Laos during the Vietnam War and lived in refugee camps with his family before coming to the United States.

Sen. Hawj received his B.A. in 1990 in Theatre and File and Computer Science from the University of Kansas. He earned his M.S. in Applied Science and Technology from New York’s Rochester Institute of Technology in 2001.

In 2016, he was selected to be a member of the Subcommittee on Equity, which secured $35 million in ongoing funding to address racial disparities in Minnesota. Sen. Hawj prioritizes foreclosure prevention, protecting the environment, improving education, and strengthening senior health care.

Prior to being elected to the Minnesota Senate, Sen. Hawj worked as a videographer and scriptwriter, producing Hmong environmental videos. He lives at the south end of Lake Phalen and enjoys spending time outside when he is not working.

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    Bonding for our future

    From wastewater treatment sites to college campuses and snow-covered state parks, the Senate Capital Investment Committee started touring the state to review potential bonding projects. During this five weeks of travel, committee members will be considering millions worth of bonding project requests as we work together to put together a comprehensive infrastructure package.

    On Feb. 14, the bonding committee will tour projects in the Eastside of St. Paul. It will be a great opportunity for our communities to present important projects such as the Eastside Freedom Library, Battle Creek Recreation Center and the Wakan Tipi Center.

    When the schedule is released for the tour in our area, I will need your help in sharing with my colleagues why our requests are so important. I will also post the schedule when it becomes available on Facebook, so you may listen or show your support. I am strongly committed to advocate for these projects and will work for them to be included in the final bonding bill.

    The bonding committee’s first tour took place the week of Jan. 8. It included two days in Southwest Minnesota and one day of touring projects in Minneapolis and the University of Minnesota.
    While the most common theme was maintaining what we have on our first tour, we did hear from Waldorf, Windom, and Minneapolis about assistance they are seeking from the state for core water projects. Communities like Redwood Falls, Albert Lea, and Waconia are also looking to provide enhanced amenities to their citizens and economic development opportunities in their communities. I have included only a portion of the projects that we saw so you have a general sense of the requests we have reviewed.

    There are over $3 billion in requests. The projects vary greatly but are all important to the communities requesting them. Unfortunately, only about a third of the need is funded on a biennial basis. This forces a lot of communities that have important projects to wait until the next bonding cycle or find a way forward on their own.

    Whether small or large, located in a tiny community or the metropolitan area, all of the projects being considered have regional or statewide economic impacts and help make Minnesota a better place to live, work and play.

    This week the committee is touring projects in Northwest Minnesota. The Governor also released his bonding priorities today. While Session doesn’t start until Feb. 20, the Capital Investment Committee, the Governor and stakeholders across the state are starting to weigh in on which projects should be included. No matter how the bill is put together in the end, one thing is certain – passing a bonding bill will not only create thousands of jobs but will help improve hundreds of neighborhoods and communities across this state.


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    Senator Hawj tests power line climbing with students at MN West Technical College during capital investment tour of southwest Minnesota. ...

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