By David Schuman

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — President Joe Biden is calling one of Minnesota’s top public servants to the nation’s capital.

Hamse Warfa, the highest-ranking Somali American in Minnesota’s executive branch, has been appointed a senior adviser to the U.S. State Department, advancing Biden’s democracy agenda.

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“This is a calling and I’m grateful I have another chance to serve our country,” Warfa said. “I couldn’t say no in this critical moment of our country.”

Warfa will be leaving his position as a deputy commissioner in Minnesota’s Department of Employment and Economic Development.

Born in Somalia, Warfa lived through civil war, then spent three years in Kenyan refugee camps. He came to the United States at the start of high school without knowing any English. Warfa went on to earn his master’s degree.

The husband and father of four feels he and his family have been beneficiaries of the American willingness to accept strangers.

“In this country, I have learned the power of my vote,” Warfa said.

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Hamse Warfa (credit: CBS)

He will help develop strategies to protect and promote democracy, as well as represent the administration at conferences around the world. The role has significant personal meaning to him.

“I hope, you know, people see in my example the reflection of hope for democracy and value, that everyone’s voice and vote counts and matters,” Warfa said.

Gov. Tim Walz released this statement on Warfa’s appointment:

I am confident Hamse will serve the people of the United States with the same integrity, policy expertise, and collaborative leadership that he provided for the people of Minnesota. Hamse and his team at DEED advocated for the economic well-being of all Minnesotans during the pandemic and focused on ensuring workers and businesses had the resources and training to survive and thrive. I am grateful for Hamse’s service to our state and his commitment to building an equitable economy that works for everyone.

“I’m really excited to be part of the team that will be implementing the vision that President Biden has laid out both for our country and globally,” Warfa said. “I feel this sense of urgency and call to action.”

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Warfa worked on Biden’s campaign in 2020. He starts his job at the end of January.

David Schuman