Melvin W. Carter III currently serves as Executive Director of the Minnesota Children's Cabinet, advocating for and advising Governor Mark Dayton on state early childhood policy investments. Prior to joining state government, Carter served on the Saint Paul City Council from 2008 to 2013. In that capacity, he championed policies to address some of the city’s most pressing issues, including forming the city’s Department of Human Rights & Equal Economic Opportunity (HREEO); Banning the Box to eliminate employment discrimination against people with criminal backgrounds, requiring landlords to notify tenants of a pending foreclosure on their property; and prohibiting the sale of candy cigarettes and toy lighters to reduce “practice smoking” among children.
In addition to crafting policy, Council Member Carter was a constant advocate on social justice issues; primarily education and transit. In 2009, he created a partnership between City, County, School and grassroots leaders to support high quality education outcomes, which later became the Saint Paul Promise Neighborhood. As part of a broad community movement, Carter also worked to secure additional stations; support local businesses; and train residents for jobs along Saint Paul’s Green Line Light Rail Corridor.
Having become engaged in electoral politics after his brother was turned away from a Florida polling precinct during Election 2000, Melvin is passionate about helping others engage. He has trained political candidates, community organizers and campaign workers in over 30 states with several national organizations, including Wellstone Action, People for the American Way Foundation, and Progressive Majority, and is a community faculty member at Metropolitan State University.
For his committed service to community, Carter received the 2011 Barbara Jordan Leadership Award from the National Young Elected Officials Network and was recognized in Ebony Magazine’s “30 Under 30” issue in 2008. Carter is currently an Ascend Fellow with the prestigious Aspen Institute, developing and promoting multi-generational strategies to build economic security, educational success, and health and well-being for low-income families in the US.
Carter is a product of the Saint Paul Public Schools, having attended Capitol Hill and graduated from Saint Paul Central High School. He 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. Melvin enjoys playing tennis, running and spending time with his two daughters, Maylena (9) and Naomi (7).
Carter serves on the boards of the Saint Paul Public Schools Foundation, Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library, and Friends of Saint Paul College.