Ilhan Omar: The Somali-Born Who Is Making History In US Politics

Ilhan Omar is a Somalian born US citizen who has just won in the DFL primaries election in Minnesota. She may become the first Somali-American legislature in Minnesota and the United States in general.

Ilhan was a refugee in Kenya. Later she immigrated to the United States. Ever since she has been living with her family in Minneapolis’ Cedar-Riverside area. The Constituency has been represented by Phyllis Kahn of the Democratic Farmer Labor (DFL) party for 22 terms.

It is indeed a milestone achievement that an African by decent can beat a long time formidable politician as 44-year old Phyllis in the primaries.

See Also: Somalian Refugees Begin Leaving Before World’s Biggest Refugee Camp Closes

It is said that the election was one of the most anticipated and unpredictable legislative primary elections in Minnesota.

Omar did not win the Primaries simply because she was African but because she put in undiluted hardwork and resilience into her campaigns. Over 5800 people showed up for her campaign.

Omar1 Ilhan Omar

Ilhan reached out to people of all classes. Her campaign team went door to door to sensitize people. She reached out to students as well.

Ilhan Omar employed a viable strategy to keep her fans engaged. She used e-mails, social media and phone reminders to mobilize students to vote. Omar also raised far more money than anyone else during the campaign.

Andrew Johnson, Minneapolis City Council Member, had this to say:

“She had a grass-roots campaign the likes of which I’ve never seen before. They outworked the other candidates, and you saw that at every level- from the [endorsing] convention to fundraising to their interactions with residents.” 

33-year old Omar has served as Johnson’s campaign manager in 2013. She has also worked as his policy aide at City Hall.

From the look of things, Omar is almost certain to become the nation’s first Somali-American legislator in 2017.

See Also: Fadumo Dayib: The Somalian Refugee Turned Presidential Candidate

Somalis in the United States seem to have a flair for politics. Just like Omar, Abdi Warsame defeated Robert Lilligren in 2013 becoming the first Somali-American on the Minneapolis City Council.

Contesting for the seat of the president in Somalia was a former refugee, Fadumo Dayib. Fadumo could also emerge as the first female Somalian president.

“Tonight we made history. Tonight marks the beginning of the future of our district, a new era of representation.”

“I hope our story is an inspirational story to many people.” -Ilhan Omar

According to Omar, her priorities would be on “closing the opportunity gap in our educational system, working on criminal justice reform, taking on policing reform.”