New LCCMR Role Is Third Key Leadership Position Senator Hawj Has Assumed Since January, A First for Any Senator of His Cultural Heritage
ST. PAUL, Minn. – Senator Foung Hawj (DFL-St. Paul) has been elected as the Senate Chair of the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR), giving him an important role in making funding recommendations to the State Legislature on Important environmental and natural resource projects across Minnesota.
His election as Senate Chair of the LCCMR is the third leadership position that Senator Hawj has assumed. Earlier this year, he also was re-elected by his colleagues as an Assistant Leader of the majority DFL Caucus, and was named Chair of the Senate Environment, Climate, and Legacy Committee starting in January.
“I am honored to be elected Senate Chair of the LCCMR. It’s an important position that requires an understanding of how critical our state’s land, water and environmental resources are to Minnesota’s quality of life,” said Sen Hawj, who was already serving on the commission before being elected Senate Chair. ” I am pleased to be able to play a key leadership role in how our state funds those resources.”
The 17-member LCCMR, recommends projects – funded primarily from the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund (ENRTF) – that help maintain and enhance Minnesota’s environment and natural resources. The LCCMR is made up of 5 Senators, 5 Representatives, 5 citizens appointed by the governor, 1 citizen appointed by the Senate, and 1 citizen appointed by the House.
Sen. Hawj said that since 1963, approximately $1 billion has been appropriated to more than 2,400 projects recommended to the legislature by the LCCMR to protect and enhance Minnesota’s environment and natural resources.
Senator Hawj Now Serving in Three Key Leadership Roles
The new LCCMR position is the third leadership role Senator Hawj has assumed during the current Legislative Session, something that is unprecedented for someone of his cultural background.
Senator Hawj, who is Hmong, left war-torn Laos in the late 1970’s due to persecution of his people for supporting the United States in the Vietnam War. His family first settled in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, moved to Kansas before coming to Minnesota in 1991. An avid outdoorsman, he’s worked as a small business owner, and artist and filmmaker. He was first elected to the Senate in 2012 and been re-elected three times.
“I am a proud American, but I’m even prouder as a Hmong person in Minnesota – the Clear Blue Water – alongside people of Irish, Swedish, and Norwegian descent, as well as African American, Hispanic, Lakota, Anishinaabe and others who make up our state’s diversity,” said Sen. Hawj. “It’s not always been easy, but I’m honored to have the opportunity to serve in leadership positions when important decisions are being made. It’s because of the support of my Senate colleagues and the people of the East side of St. Paul who elected me. I know I have a lot of responsibility to make decisions about the future of our state’s environment and natural resources and I’ll do my best to honor those decisions.”