First Somali-American elected to Congress

Posted at 8:16 AM, Nov 07, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-07 10:17:26-05

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – In a seat that has historically been held by Democrats, Ilhan Omar won the bid for the state’s 5th Congressional District, defeating Republican Jennifer Zielinsk for an open spot left by U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison.

Ilhan Omar is the first Somali-American elected to Congress.

Omar has been an advocate for a single-payer health care system, reforming immigration policies to create wider opportunities for migrants and refugees, and stricter gun laws.

She spent four years in a refugee camp before coming to the United States at age 12. Omar says one of her priorities is to continue to stand against President Donald Trump’s immigration policies.

Jennifer Zielinski, a clinical specialist for Allina Health and a Republican activist, ran on a platform that included wanting to continue Trump’s tax cuts, repealing the Affordable Care Act only if there is another plan in place, and enforcing existing immigration laws.

Zielinski has not held elected office before, but she has been a Republican activist for more than 10 years, working on various campaigns.

Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District includes Minneapolis and surrounding suburbs that usually tilt Democratic.