Foung Hawj

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Foung Hawj
𖬌𖬰𖬜𖬵 𖬎𖬲𖬟
Member of the Minnesota Senate
from the 67th district
Assumed office
January 8, 2013
Preceded byredrawn district
Personal details
Political partyDemocratic (DFL)
ResidenceSaint Paul, Minnesota
Alma materUniversity of Kansas (B.A.)
Rochester Institute of Technology (M.S.)
ProfessionMultimedia producer

Foung Hawj (/fɒŋ hɜːr/ FONG HUR; Chinese: 侯主福; Lao: ຝົງ ເຮີ; RPA: Foom Hawj; Pahawh: 𖬌𖬰𖬜𖬵 𖬎𖬲𖬟) is an American media producer and politician who is a member of the Minnesota Senate. A member of the Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party (DFL), he represents District 67, which includes the east side of Saint Paul in Ramsey County.

Early life, education, and career[edit]

Foung was born in Laos. His father was a military diplomat overseeing air deliveries of humanitarian cargo in Vientiane and Long Tieng.[1] His mother, a country girl without education, learned to operate a pharmacy in Ban Xon City.[2] Foung grew up during the Vietnam War and lived in refugee camps with his family before coming to the United States.[3] In 1990, he received his B.A. in Media Arts and Computer Science from the University of Kansas and earned his M.S. in Applied Science and Technology from New York's Rochester Institute of Technology in 2001.

Foung was a series producer for Twin Cities Public Television in the 1990s before starting his own multimedia business in 1996, Digital Motion LLC. He co-founded the Hmong-American DFL Caucus in 1992[4] and other community organizations including Center for the Hmong Arts and Talent,[5] the Minnesota Hmong Chamber of Commerce and Gateway Food Initiative Co-op which launched the development of the Mississippi Market on East 7th Street.[6]

Minnesota Senate[edit]

Foung was one of nine DFL candidates running for the Senate seat in 2010, losing in the primary to St. Paul police chief John Harrington.[7] He ran again in 2012, supported by the Sierra Club and a broad coalition that included the Hmong-American community, but also Latino, Somali, and African American voters.[8] He won the primary, and went on to win the general election on November 6, 2012.[9] His legislative concerns include economic development, social and economic equity, education, housing, environment, and healthcare.[10] Some of his first term accomplishments for District 67 include new business developments on 7th Street, the Science and Education Center for Metro State University, and job creation dollars to boost the local economy.[citation needed]

He kicked off his re-election campaign on January 16, 2016 at the Carpenter Union in his district.[citation needed] Hawj was re-elected in both 2016 and 2020, and currently serves on the Jobs and Economic Growth Finance and Policy and Veterans and Military Affairs Finance and Policy Committees. Hawj is also the ranking minority member on the Environment and Natural Resources Policy and Legacy Finance Committee.[10]

Personal life[edit]

Foung is an outdoorsman and has worked as a videographer and scriptwriter, producing Hmong environmental videos.[11][12] He lives at the south end of Lake Phalen and is captain of a dragon boat team.[3] He spells his last name Hawj in RPA so that English-speakers can better approximate its pronunciation.[11]


  1. ^ Lee, Fong (January 14, 1995). "Profile: Television Producer Foung Heu". Asian Pages. Archived from the original on June 11, 2014.
  2. ^ "Minnesota Senate Resolution S.R. No. 68". Minnesota State Senate. March 7, 2019. Retrieved January 12, 2020.
  3. ^ a b "Biography". Foung for State Senate 67. Archived from the original on July 17, 2012. Retrieved December 8, 2012.
  4. ^ "Foung Hawj is seeking DFL endorsement at the Senate District Convention". Hmong Times. March 28, 2012.
  5. ^ "Center for Hmong Arts & Talent (CHAT) - MNopedia". Retrieved December 24, 2016.
  6. ^ "Foung Hawj is seeking DFL endorsement at the Senate District Convention". Retrieved December 24, 2016.
  7. ^ Perry, Steve (June 7, 2010). "Nine vie for Moua seat; biggest primary field ever?". Politics in Minnesota.
  8. ^ Moua, Wameng (December 17, 2012). "The nice guy finishes first in race for St. Paul Senate seat". Hmong Today. Retrieved March 29, 2013.
  9. ^ Melo, Frederick (August 18, 2012). "St. Paul: Foung Hawj's victory in DFL primary shows he got out the vote". Pioneer Press. Archived from the original on November 26, 2012.
  10. ^ a b "Senator-elect Foung Hawj (DFL) District 67".
  11. ^ a b Boyd, Cynthia (May 27, 2011). "Taking advantage of Hmong storytelling culture to teach conservation". MinnPost.
  12. ^ Lymn, Katherine (May 15, 2011). "Film helps Hmong ease into outdoors". Star Tribune.

External links[edit]

Minnesota Senate
New district
Preceded by John Harrington prior redistricting
Senator from the 67th district
2013 – present