Ilhan Omar

Minnesota

(MN-05)

Candidate spotlight:

  • Rep. Omar is the first Somali-American, the first naturalized citizen from Africa, and the first non-white woman elected from Minnesota, and one of the first two Muslim women) to serve in Congress.
  • An immigrant herself, Ilhan was born in Somalia but fled the country’s civil war when she was eight alongside her family. The family spent four years in a refugee camp in Kenya before coming to the United States in 1995 at age twelve.
  • In 2016 she was elected as the Minnesota House Representative for District 60B, making her the highest-elected Somali-American public official in the United States and the first Somali-American State Legislator.
  • Ilhan’s daughter, Isra Hirsi, co-founded and served as the Co-Executive Director of the U.S. Youth Climate Strike.
  • In 2012, Omar organized for the Vote No Twice campaigns to defeat two amendments to the Minnesota Constitution that would’ve required voter photo identification to vote and completely banned gay marriage in the state.
  • When she arrived in the U.S., Omar could read some English but couldn’t speak it so her family watched reruns of Baywatch in order to get up to speed conversationally.