Chai Lee lives in Saint Paul and represents District 13: in Ramsey County, the cities of Little Canada, North St. Paul, the portions of the City of Maplewood north of I-94, and the portions of the City of Saint Paul south of the Mississippi River and east of Edgerton Street; and in Washington County, the cities of Landfall and Oakdale.
Chai Lee is a Program Coordinator for Nexus Community Partners. There he helps recruit, interview and select people for the Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute (BCLI). The BCLI is a seven-month cohort leadership program, which trains people of color who wish to get appointed to publicly appointed boards and commissions. Previously, he was a constituent service representative in the office of Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman.
Among his community activities, Lee serves on the District 1 Community Council in Saint Paul and the Gold Line BRT Community and Business Advisory Committee. He is also a youth soccer coach for the Saint Paul Parks and Recreation Department. He has also served on Saint Paul’s Long-Range Capital Investment Budget Committee (the CIB), which reviews, ranks and recommends capital improvements to the City of Saint Paul.
Lee is interested in the intersections of the Council’s many responsibilities; for example, how the region balances environmental concerns with the need to house people and provide a robust transportation system. He also has a strong interest in the Council’s role in addressing the region’s affordable housing crisis.
“I have worked hard to keep community voices at the table wherever I have served and have always worked on the side of racially equitable policies,” Lee said. “As a Council member, I want to elevate my interests in future policy planning through an equity lens, whether we are making decisions about housing, transportation, water resources or any other issue.”
Lee was born in Thailand and moved with his Hmong family to the United States when he was a year old. They lived in Fresno, California, until 1998, and then moved to Saint Paul. Lee graduated from Humboldt High School and earned a bachelor of arts degree in International Relations and Political Science from Carleton College. He enjoys photography, reading, going to movies, and watching mixed martial arts. He’s also a history buff, both military and general history.