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First Somali-American Muslim Lawmaker Runs For Congress

MINNESOTA – State Rep. Ilhan Omar (DFL-Minneapolis) has filed her candidacy for Keith Ellison’s seat in Congress Tuesday afternoon, just hours before the deadline.

“Officially filed to be on the ballot for US Congress to represent #MN05. I look forward to carrying on Congressman Keith Ellison’s legacy. We have hard fights ahead and I look forward to fighting alongside the residents of District 5,” the first Somali American Muslim lawmaker wrote on Twitter, CBS Minnesota reported.

Speaking to reporters, she said, “I know what it feels like to be a young family looking for an opportunity in the United States, paying off your college debt and not knowing if you’ll have enough to send your kids to college.”

“I’m excited to go and be a voice for the voiceless at the Capitol,” she added.

“I have shown myself to be someone who shows up, takes on the hard fight and delivers, and I am ready to do the same thing for Congressional District 5 and the people of our state.”

She announced her bid after Ellison announced he would not be running for re-election and withdrew his filing for the Fifth District. He filed instead to run for Minnesota Attorney General.

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Omar became the nation’s first Somali-American lawmaker after being elected last November 2016 as a state representative from Minneapolis.

The 33-year-old Omar was born in Somalia before she fled to the US to escape civil war.

She stayed for four years in a Kenyan refugee camp before ultimately moving to the Somali-American neighborhood of Cedar-Riverside, where she has lived for nearly two decades and is currently director of policy initiatives at Women Organizing Women.