Minnesota Elects Country’s First Somali-American Legislator

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An immigrant living in Minnesota has just become the first Somali-American lawmaker in the United States.

Ilhan Omar, a 33-year-old community activist won a state House seat to represent a Minneapolis neighborhood that’s often referred to “Little Mogadishu” for its large Somali population. This area is also known to be a recruiting ground for Islamic extremists.

This rise in the Somali population is what lead to Omar’s victory. After she defeated the district’s 44-year incumbent in a three-way primary race, Omar gave her victory speech not only in English, but in Somalian too. Soon after her primary victory, the Republican running against her decided to drop out of the race.

Minnesota has the nation’s largest Somali population, and according to the Star Tribune, more than 40,000 Somalis have settled in Minneapolis and elsewhere in the state. Somali’s are reportedly drawn to Minnesota due to the social programs they offer immigrants and refugees.

Omar first came to the United States at the age of eight after she spent four years living in a Kenyan refugee camp.

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