Ilhan Omar wins District 60B Primary for Minnesota State Representative.

Ilhan Omar recently caused a stir in Minneapolis after winning the District 60B Democratic Primary for State Representative. This win firmly puts her on the track to becoming the first Somali-American to clinch a seat in a U.S. state legislature. With the elections just around the corner, on November 8, Ilhan has been receiving immense support from the Somali community in Minneapolis.

Ilhan Omar would also the first female Muslim woman to hold such a position in America. A Political Science, International Studies and Business Administration graduate, Omar is beyond qualified for the job. Moreover, she has also finished a Policy Fellowship at Humphrey School of Public Affairs in Minnesota.

2016 has seen hijab wearing women achieve great feats. Just recently, Ibtihaj Muhammad was the first hijab wearing member of the U.S. Olympic team. Such women, patriotic, intelligent and eloquent, represent a new generation of young Muslim women tearing down common stereotypes and misconceptions surrounding Muslim-American women and Islam at large.

According to the report by Steve Simon, the Secretary of State, Ilhan got 2,404 votes followed at a distance by Mohamud Noor with 1,738 and finally Rep. Phyllis Kahn with 1,726 votes. This brought the total number of voters to 5,868, a 37 percent increase from 4,281 in 2014.

During her winning speech, Ilhan explained that her campaign was about bringing people together to have them engaged in the political process. By bringing together the various residents of the area from students and East African immigrants to long term residents, she will ensure that all these voices are represented at the Capitol. Her agenda as a State Representative for District 60B involve working to close the opportunity gap in the district and advance environmental, racial, social and economic justice. Being a highly diverse area, Minnesota is making great strides in ensuring equitable and wholesome living of its varied inhabitants.

Ilhan’s campaign had over 250 volunteers and well above 450 individual donors. Majority of her contributions came from the Somali community in Little Mogadishu who support her leadership. Omar herself came to the U.S. as a refugee when she was just 8-years-old. After escaping Somalia, her family had lived in a camp in Kenya before they were finally moved to the U.S., an initiative by the United Nations.

In a nutshell, Ilhan Omar can be described as an educator, a progressive DFL and feminism activist, and a policy analyst. She currently works as the for WOW (Women Organizing Women) Network as the Director of Policy and Initiatives. Her work has for years involved empowering and engaging East African women to participate in civic leadership and view themselves as leaders in their various communities. This is not forgetting Ilhan Omar, the family woman. She is happily married and has three children, all who reside with her in the West Bank neighborhood of Minneapolis.

Resources

Follow the Conversation on Twitter