I thought you’d enjoy hearing about an email exchange I had with Omar, a 5th-grade Somali-American student from Burlington, Massachusetts. He wrote to me recently with a set of questions as part of a class assignment about the political process.
The one question that has stayed with me was “What keeps you motivated to work so hard?”
I told Omar that my children, Ilwad, Adnan, and Isra, motivate me. But I wish I had thought to tell Omar that he too motivates me. That his curiosity and potential — and the curiosity and potential of all the children in Minnesota and across the country — are one of the main reasons I’m running for State Representative
The opportunity gap in Minnesota, between students of color and white students, is among the worst in the nation. By allowing this to continue we are risking our the future potential of our state.
Our diversity should be our greatest strength. That’s why I’m committed to closing the opportunity gap through universal pre-K, increasing support for wraparound services, reforming school disciplinary procedures, and hiring more teachers of color. Click here to learn more about how we can create a cradle to graduation approach to strengthening education.
Here are the other questions Omar asked me:
How old are you?
I am 33.
What part of Somali were you born in?
I was born in Mogadishu and raised in Baydhabo.
Did your parents decide to move to Minnesota or was it just your dad?
My mom passed away when I was a little girl so it was my dad who decided that our family should move to Minnesota.
What made you interested in being part of the government?
My grandfather loved politics and he loved democracy. When I was 14, I was his interpreter at our local precinct caucus, here in Minneapolis. He inspired me to bring about change through government.
What is the best part about running for office?
I love meeting new people, having conversations about our district and issues that matter to us, and connecting on how we can work together to transform our community.
What is the toughest part about running for office?
The toughest part about running for office is there's not enough time in the day to do everything!
If you want to encourage the curiosity and potential of students like Omar, I hope you will invest in my campaign and help me win the primary on August 9.
I promise that if I am elected as your State Representative, I will commit myself to making more educational resources available so that all of our children can thrive and be successful in school.
The 2016 primary election is August 9. If you live in District 60-B, click here to register for an absentee ballot now.
Ilhan is endorsed by:
Senator Scott Dibble
Senator Patricia Torres Ray
Minneapolis City Council Members Lisa Bender, Alondra Cano, Andrew Johnson
Former Mayor & DNC Vice Chair R.T. Rybak
OutFront Minnesota Action
African American DFL Caucus
DFL Feminist Caucus
Minnesota Young DFL
Somali-American DFL Caucus
Minneapolis School Board Members Carla Bates, Kim Ellison, Josh Reimnitz
Former Chair, Minneapolis School Board Richard Mammen
Former Minneapolis School Board Member Jill Davis
Minnesota Student Association President Joelle Stangler & President Elect Abeer Syedah
Minneapolis Park Board Commissioner Brad Bourn
Minneapolis Board of Taxation and Estimation Board Member Carol Becker
Minneapolis NAACP President & St. Thomas Professor Nekima Levy Pounds
St. Louis Park Council Member Anne Mavity
St. Paul Public School Board Members Zuki Ellis, Steve Marchese
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