Samba Baldeh has been sworn in as the first Muslim member of the Wisconsin Legislature, and the first Black man to represent Dane County in the legislature.
Baldeh is originally from Gambia, in West Africa; a Democrat and member-elect of the Wisconsin State Assembly for the 48th assembly district, comprising the northeastern half of the city of Madison.
Before his election, he had served six years on the Madison City Council, and was president of the City Council from 2018 to 2019.
He said he first heard about Wisconsin during a conference in Washington DC, TMJ4 reported.
“It was difficult to pronounce. I didn’t even know something like that existed,” Baldeh joked.
His agenda includes the pandemic, unemployment, housing disparities, criminal and education reform.
“It’s sinking in. I do the work of the people. I give it my best and hope for the best result,” Baldeh said.
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American Muslims have made history this year across the country, with a record number of them contesting and winning seats for first time.
According to Jetpac, a representation-driven organization that trains American Muslims who want to run for office, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), and MPower Change, the largest Muslim-led social and racial justice organization in the United States, a record number of 110 Muslim candidates were on ballots in this year’s elections across 24 states.
The number is the highest since the three organizations started mapping the electoral progress of politicians who identify as Muslim.