Ilhan Omar has become the first American-Somali to be elected to the US Congress.
Ms. Omar, who fled civil war in Somalia as a child and spent four years in a refugee camp in Kenya, She moved to the US with her family in 1995, aged 14. In 2016, she became the first Somali-American woman elected to state legislature in the US. The mother of three then decided to run for Congress this year after Keith Ellison, an African-American Muslim and deputy chair of the Democratic National Committee, vacated the seat to run for attorney general in Minnesota.
She later won Minnesota’s Fifth Congressional District in the mid-term elections. She is also the joint first Muslim woman to be elected to Congress, alongside Rashida Tlaib.
She has expressed her determination to push for the protection of women and refugees.
The 36-year-old Democrat candidate was resoundingly elected with over 78% of the vote in Minnesota’s 5th congressional district, joining the surge of fresh new candidates who helped the Democrats take back the House. Her Republican opponent Jennifer Zielinski got only 22% of the vote. Her election was among many firsts in the high-stakes midterm polls, including the victory of an openly gay governor in Colorado, and the first Native American women elected to Congress from Kansas and New Mexico.
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