Meet Ilhan Omar
In 2018, Ilhan was elected to Congress representing the Fifth Congressional District of Minnesota. In her first year in office, she successfully passed 16 bills and amendments through the U.S. House of Representatives. Ilhan introduced the Student Debt Cancellation Act to end the student debt crisis, Homes for All legislation to end the homelessness crisis, and legislation to tackle child hunger by making school meals universal. She also co-sponsored the No Ban Act to combat Donald Trump’s xenophobic Muslim Ban, successfully pushed to extend DED status for the Liberian community in Minnesota, and introduced a War Powers Resolution to prevent war with Iran.
She is Vice Chair of the Medicare for All Caucus, Whip for the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and Midwest Regional Whip for the Democratic Caucus. Ilhan has consistently worked to show that the American Dream is for everyone. In 2020, she was awarded the Profile in Courage Award from the Town Project for her consistent engagement with constituents, even in the face of threats to her safety.
Born in Somalia, Ilhan and her family fled the country's civil war when she was eight-years-old. They lived in a refugee camp in Kenya for four years before coming to the United States, eventually settling in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis in 1997.Ilhan’s interest in politics began at the age of 14 when she was as an interpreter for her grandfather at local DFL caucuses. Watching neighbors come together to advocate for change at the grassroots level made Ilhan fall in love with the democratic process.
As a student at Edison High School in Minneapolis, she became an organizer and has been a coalition builder ever since. She worked as a community educator at the University of Minnesota and has been a devoted progressive activist in the DFL party for many years. Before running for office, Ilhan was a Humphrey Policy Fellow and served as a senior Policy Aide for a Minneapolis City Council Member. Through advocacy work with which she’s been involved, she’s advanced important issues, including support for working families, educational access, environmental protection, and racial equity.In 2016, Ilhan became the first Somali-American, Muslim legislator in the United States. With the help of her committed campaign team, they increased voter turnout by 37%. She was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives in District 60B.