Meet Ilhan Omar: Former Somali Refugee Favored to Win House Seat in Minnesota
Despite only solidifying this as a (very likely) possibility so far, Omar has already made history by cinching the Democratic primary vote and successfully defeating incumbent Phyllis Kahn, who has been a state representative for the last 44 years and is "tied for the longest-serving legislator in state history."
"It is with tremendous gratitude that I accept the nomination," Omar proclaimed in her victory speech — one she gave in both English and Somali. "I pledge to represent you with integrity and humility."
But her recent success did not come without its trials and tribulations. Having fled Somalia with her parents when she was a young girl, Omar spent four years of her life in a Kenyan refugee camp before they were "granted the opportunity to become U.S. citizens when Omar was 8," eventually moving to Minnesota — a state with a high Somali immigrant population — where she has lived since.
Owing much of her passion for politics to her grandfather, Omar's political success is innumerable. From "supporting working families by winning paid parental leave for city employees" to securing collaborative urban educator funding from the Minnesota State Legislature.
And according to Women In The World, Omar told The Associated Press that, if elected, she hopes to close the opportunity gap in the educational system, work on criminal justice reform, and work on policing reform.
Photo Credit: Ilhan Omar Facebook/Zach Xayga Album