Trista MatasCastillo is a mother, veteran, and advocate. She served in the U.S. Navy on active duty for 16 years and was the first woman to serve as Commander of the 34th Military Police Company.

After her military service, MatasCastillo became a community organizer and policy leader for Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity, where she developed government relationships as an advocate for affordable housing. During this time she helped found the Homes for All Minnesota Coalition, and she has also been involved in veterans’ issues, serving as a Ramsey County Veterans Court Advocate and founding the non-profit Women Veterans Initiative. Her experiences seeking county services for her son motivate her to run for commissioner to reform those systems.


Supports character-based recruitment processes for police: “I will work closely with the Ramsey County Sheriff to support continued implementation of character-based recruitment and hiring to ensure our deputies reflect the diversity and values of our community.”
Source: Vote Trista

Supports alternatives to how the county will approach youth in the criminal justice system: “I will support holistic approaches to improving public safety like the county’s Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiatives program.”
Source: Vote Trista

Conducted advocacy work in housing for Nicaraguan immigrants in Costa Rica.
Source: Habitat for Humanity blog, 1/11

Worked for two housing-related organizations: Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity and Journey Home Minnesota, which connects victims of domestic violence to housing
Source: Pioneer Press

Advocated for $50 million in affordable housing at the state level as part of Homes for All MN Coalition
Source: MN2020, 1/29/13

Advocated for affordable housing for disabled women
Source: Twin Cities Daily Planet, 3/8/13

Supports affordable housing initiatives that are connected to transportation: “As commissioner, I will push for more housing along our major corridors like Rice, Dale, and Snelling. These main corridors are not only transit connected; they are increasingly home to a wide array of locally owned businesses that could use the support of more residents and foot traffic. … Lower housing costs won’t have anywhere near the impact if that housing isn’t connected to the places people need to go.”
Source: Streets MN questionnaire, 3/18/18

Advocate to support veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): “Advocates are a huge part of the process of educating professionals and policymakers about the issues our veterans face and together we make a difference. … It is also extremely healing to share our stories and it is one of the best ways to make an issue real to others who don’t know.”
Source: Department of Defense, 1/27/16

“As Commissioner, I will work with the City of St. Paul to bring reinvestment to our District and to proactively recruit companies to build their businesses in our community. I will support efforts to continually improve our workforce development programs, gain greater input from our business community, and bring these resources within closer reach of our residents.”
Source: East Metro Voter Guide, 2018

Hopes to attract jobs to Ramsey County by leveraging County resources: “The work of growing our local economies requires a multifaceted approach that should include the resources, staff, and expertise County programs can offer in areas such as workforce development and environmental remediation.”
Source: East Metro Voter Guide, 2018

Hopes to make Ramsey a Zero Waste County: “I will partner with communities in Ramsey County to support a collective commitment to be a Zero Waste County. I support legislative efforts to return money to counties to fund recycling and composting efforts.”
Source: Vote Trista

Supports the creation of urban farms and green space: “There is opportunity to rethink how we are using the green space and consider converting the green space to a revenue and food producing urban farms. This idea would grow jobs, maintain green space, improve environment while producing fresh produce to benefit many in need in our community.”
Source: East Metro Voter Guide, 2018

Founded the Women’s Veteran Initiative.
Source: Pioneer Press, 10/13/17

Advocated for women veterans, including successfully pushing for woman veteran license plates at the State Capitol, and advocating for policy change for stricter laws on sexual assault and to hold perpetrators of military sexual assault accountable.
Source: Women’s Press

On the stigma of military sexual assault and the need for women’s health services: “Women veterans do not have the same experiences as their male counterparts. Women have to fight harder, work harder, complain less and sacrifice more just to be considered equal.”
Source: MPR News, 8/25/09


The Twin Cities Daily Planet is a flagship media arts project of Twin Cities Media Alliance that amplifies and connects marginalized voices; this voter guide is an extension of the Daily Planet elections coverage. Every year we’re moving towards a possibility of a more diverse legislature. And with it, we hope comes increased opportunities for communities historically shut out of political processes and power to imagine and enact policies to create a Minnesota that benefits all its constituents.