MN Will Have Somali-American Lawmaker No Matter Who Wins in November: Meet the Republican

Minnesota will be getting its first Somali-American representative no matter who wins the general election in House District 60B, covering the Cedar-Riverside and U of M portions of Minneapolis.

On Tuesday Ilhan Omar defeated the legislature’s longest-serving Representative Phyllis Kahn in a Democratic primary for the Minneapolis district. Omar automatically becomes the natural favorite in the heavily Democratic district.  Abdimalik Askar is hoping he can upset in November.

Omar and Askar are both refugees from Somalia and are both heavily involved in the Minneapolis Somali community, but they couldn’t be more different when it comes to policy positions.  

Askar says that if the Republican Party platform is presented in the right way and through fair media, that it resonates better with the Somali community’s principles of family values and independence, explaining, “Sometimes a media bias exists in that, but Republicans, number one they believe in ‘you want to be your own,’ that is the best thing that a person you can tell them.  You can give them support, but you have to believe in, that you can grow and you can make your own business and you can establish yourself.”

Askar says he also disagrees with Omar on fixing Minneapolis’ education issues.  Omar’s website says she supports universal pre-k and will fight for more funding, but Askar is advocating for “school choice” as a solution, saying, “It will fit in to the parenting needs.  It will give the parents a choice, to say ‘why your son is failing this school,’ and not to send them to that school where they’re making success.”

Omar declined to interview with Alpha News, but sent a statement saying, “I look forward to winning the general election in November and then co-governing and advancing the shared progressive values of our district when the legislative session begins after the first of the year.”

Askar says if elected he hopes to not only show the Somali community how Republican values can better serve them, but to be a role model for its younger members as well.  

The general election is Tuesday, November 8th. Subscribe to Alpha News for further election coverage.

Julia Erynn