US city gets first Somali-born mayor
WASHINGTON - The United States has continued to showcase paradigm shifts in local politics involving several races, with the most recent victory of a Somali-American in local elections proving the country's huge milestone in accommodative politics.
On Tuesday, St. Louis Park elected the first Somali-born mayor, a huge milestone that breaks historical jinxes, in a country that has continued to give room for multi-racial politics, which were once an impossibility.
City Council Member Nadia Mohamed, 27, won by a considerable margin against retired banker Dale A. Anderson in Tuesday's election, became the nation's first elected Somali American mayor as well as the first Black mayor of St. Louis Park, Star Tribune reports.
"This is a milestone. This is not the destination," said the mayor-elect, thanking her supporters Tuesday. "As mayor, I want to ensure people see themselves reflected in our policies."
Her supporters embraced her as they chanted liberation songs following the rare victory in the country. Mohamed was elected to an at-large council seat in 2019 at age 23, making her the youngest person to serve on the St. Louis Park City Council.
Deqa Dhalac, a state representative of South Portland, Maine, was the first Somali American to serve as mayor of an American city in 2021, but she was selected by that city's six-member council rather than elected by the voters.
The new mayor campaigned on investments in the community through policies, attracting many supporters in the process. She was endorsed by Mayor Jake Spano, who did not seek re-election.
"I wanted to be the last in a line of all-white mayors in the city," Spano said Tuesday night. "She's got a great staff around her … and a community that's going to support her."
Mohamed was also endorsed by Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan and state Reps. Larry Kraft of St. Louis Park and Cheryl Youakim of Hopkins. Speaking to supporters Tuesday night, Mohamed spoke about her mother's journey to settle in St. Louis Park, giving her the confidence to enter politics at a young age.
"I have watched a courageous woman handle her business every day," Mohamed said. "That courage comes easy to me now."
Before her major historical victory, Mohamed may have been inspired by IIhan Omar, the Minnesota 5th District Representative, who became the first Muslim to be elected to Congress. Since then, more minority groups of politicians have been writing history.