Somali Activist Ilhan Omar has defeated long term representative Phyllis Kahn in yesterday’s DFL nominating contest. The latter had served 22 terms and 44 years in the Minnesota State legislature. This upcoming November Omar could be Minnesota’s first Muslim woman and Somali Law maker.
Omar was born in Somalia and fled the war-torn country at the young age of eight. She spent the next four years in a refugee camp in Kenya and ultimately was settled in Minneapolis, Minn., with her family.
It was in Minnesota where her interest in local politics grew and she served as an interpreter for a local DFL (Democratic Farmer Labor) caucuses. She then spent the next few years working in community grassroots movements to bring about various changes.
According to her website, she also currently serves as the Director of Policy Initiatives at Women Organizing Women, “where she empowers East African women to take civic leadership roles in their community.”
Omar currently resides in the 60B district with her husband and three children and is likely to win the upcoming November election. Now that she has defeated long seating incumbent, it is highly probable that she will be elected — given that the district demographics heavily leans toward DFL.
Written by Sara Abdi