Muslim candidates across the nation have made history yet again in 2022 for the general elections. Since 2017 we have been breaking down barriers and glass ceilings that once kept us from entering the daunting and messy world of U.S. politics.
CAIR released a directory with recently elected officials across the United States. There are currently 189 Muslim American officials that hold positions within state or local offices across the country.
Although we have achieved a major milestone for our community, there are still several states that don’t have any elected officials that identify as Muslim. Progress is incremental, so the strides that we have been able to make don’t go unrecognized. With small wins, we can continue to create a legislature that better represents the citizens of our states and our country. Below are some candidates running for office that you can support.
Ruwa Romman is a democratic nominee running for a position in District 97, Gwinnett County of Georgia. If elected she will be the first Muslim woman ever elected in Georgia’s State House. Born in Jordan, Romman’s family moved to Georgia when she was seven years old. She created Georgia’s first Muslim civil rights organization and was able to pass a No Ban Act that fought against former President Trump’s Muslim ban. Romman has worked tirelessly to turn the tide of Georgia’s political landscape from Red to Blue.
While over 30 states have raised the rate of their minimum wage, Georgia is among the five states whose minimum wage still sits at $7.25. This Muslim candidate wants to change that to a living wage and invest in public transportation and childcare to help families afford to live in Gwinnett. Additionally, she wants to protect civil rights and voting rights through reforming the criminal justice system, reversing discriminatory legislation, and maintaining a welcoming and safe community for everyone. Romman will address the taxes that are burdening homeowners and small businesses, while advocating for suspending sales tax on essential items for families.
Maryam Khan has become the first Muslim elected to the Connecticut House of Representatives. Before this monumental victory, Khan was a special education teacher at A.I. Prince Technical High School. Her experience in education and as a teacher was what drove her to make the decision to run. With the onslaught of gun violence and mass shootings in schools becoming a part of our daily routine, Khan witnessed how these events directly impacted her students and her community.
With her position, she hopes to provide schools, students, and her community with adequate resources to help address issues that students are facing. An insider’s perspective is unique to this field, but having the opportunity to work with one is priceless.
Madinah Wilson-Anton is running for re-election as the representative of District 26 in the Delaware House of Representatives. She was first elected on November 3, 2020, where she was the first Black Muslim woman elected to Delaware’s State Legislature. If re-elected she plans on proposing and supporting several new bills to amplify Delaware’s quality of life.
These include working to make sure all Delaware citizens have access to clean air and water and creating a comprehensive plan to implement proactive changes toward responding to climate change. Additionally, while the legislature was able to make progress in criminal justice reforms, she hopes to continue to expand upon these by increasing transparency in cases involving the use of deadly force by law enforcement.
Abdelnasser Rashid is a Democratic nominee running for the position of State Representative in the Illinois State Senate. Rashid’s family immigrated to the U.S. from Palestine. He helped in his family’s local business, and because of his roots was inspired to fight for his local community of Springfield. This is not the first time Rashid has run for a position in the Illinois legislature. He ran once in 2018 for County Commissioner, but lost to the incumbent by 1%. He then unsuccessfully ran again in 2020 for a position on the Cook County Board of Review.
His perseverance and motivation to keep going despite setbacks is the same approach he will take if elected. He believes in putting families and the communities’ interests above big corporations that don’t have our best interests in mind. Rashid believes in building community-centered programs that will work with law enforcement and the criminal justice system to address violence within the community. Additionally, he advocates for protecting a woman’s right to choose and ensuring safe access to abortions is crucial for women’s health and safety.
These are just a few of the many talented and bright candidates that are looking to shift our mindset in the right direction. For those who have already won, we celebrate you and look forward to seeing you shine. For those running, inshallah you will be elected soon. A word of caution, do not get lost in the rush and excitement of starting a new position or get bogged down in continuing the status quo because it’s easier. Voting is not to be taken lightly, and our votes mean so much more than we give it credit.
To the candidates running, don’t forget your community or the people who supported you along the way. Don’t lose yourself or your faith in the system, which at times can feel soul-less and draining. Everyone is somewhere in some place for a reason – don’t waste that opportunity. Change is possible even if it’s slow and small.
To begin with, all these Muslim candidates are examples of positive change. Remember that you have a seat at this table. Stay humble and remain patient. Inshallah we can create a better country together.