First Somali Immigrant Elected To MN Public Office

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minneapolis School Board election produced the first Somali immigrant elected to public office in Minnesota and possibly the United States.

Hussein Samatar thanked his many supporters Tuesday night at his victory celebration in south Minneapolis. He will represent District 3 on the Minneapolis School Board.

Samatar is the founder and CEO of the African Development Center. He came to the U.S. as a refugee in 1993 and learned English in less than a year.

“I consider myself to be an African American member of the community also who happens to speak Somali,” said Samatar. “Therefore, I know there are and there were a lot of African Americans who came before me. Obviously none of them was speaking Somali so that’s very, very special for me and for the community. What I’m extremely proud of is hopefully is the impact I can have and will have on the district.”

Samatar said he hopes his victory sparks other natives of Somalia to consider public office and making an impact in their new homeland.


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