ST. PAUL, Minn. – Melvin Carter may have made history in St. Paul Tuesday night by becoming the city’s first black mayor.

But Carter himself says that journey to the helm of city leadership started long ago and by other members of his extended family.

“I’ve shared with people all year that my family is fourth generation St. Paul. My grandparents came here from Texas, fleeing racial violence in the deep south. And I’m looking forward to the opportunity to build the city in a way it truly works for every person, in every part of it,” he said moments after his victory became official.

To be clear, Carter’s early and decisive win marked not only a milestone in social change, it also represented the success of one candidate in a crowded ranked-choice voting field.

Carter himself attributes his campaign’s success to his devoted staff and volunteers and their willingness to listen to St. Paul residents.

“The first thing I’ll say is we spent the last two years listening to voters and talking to people. In a city where too many people feel unheard – what we heard was from people all over the city – is that we have more to give, we have more to give and more to offer the city. And it became very clear that the vision of the future of the city is to say, how do we invest in people,” he said.

That investment includes improving police and community relations, he said, along with raising the minimum wage.

Bottom line, Carter may be at the center of a historic moment. But don’t expect him to stop and ponder that moment for long. After all, he says, he’s “ready to get to work.”

“I’m honored by what voters said today. I’m honored by the opportunity to serve this city that raised me in so many ways,” he said.