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Zaynab Mohamed, Somali American Woman Elected To Minnesota Senate

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Zaynab Mohamed is one of three Black women who made history Tuesday when they were elected to the Minnesota Senate. No Black women have served in the state Senate in 164 years of statehood.

“I’m honored that the people of South Minneapolis have placed their trust in me to serve as their next state senator,” Zaynab said Tuesday night. “I’m incredibly grateful to my friends, family, campaign staff, and volunteers who made this historic night possible and for the unwavering belief they had in me throughout this campaign. There’s important work ahead and I can’t wait to get to work improving the lives of working Minnesotans.”

Zaynab was born in Somalia and grew up in south Minneapolis. She graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2019.

Zaynab previously worked as a policy aide for Minneapolis City Councilmember Jason Chavez. She also served as the community advocacy manager for the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

“I’ve walked the halls of the Senate for the past year-and-a-half lobbying for bills, and I never saw myself in there. There’s not a single Black woman,” Zaynab told Sahan Journal when she announced her run. “We don’t have representation in the Senate.”

At least eight Somali American women won races in Tuesday’s U.S. midterm elections, results show. Meanwhile, Hodan Hassan defended her seat in the state House of Representatives. Other Somali American women running for offices in Minnesota were victorious, including Fathia Feerayarre, who won a seat on the Minneapolis Public Schools board.

Ilhan Omar, the most prominent Somali American politician, held on to her U.S. House of Representatives seat in Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District. This will be the third term for Omar, who was first elected in 2018.

In neighboring North Dakota, Hamida Dakane also made history, becoming the first woman of Somali descent elected to the state House. Born in northeastern Kenya’s Somali region, Dakane, who won Fargo’s District 10, came to the U.S. in 2011.

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