Ilhan Abdullahi Omar is an American politician serving as the U.S Representative for Minnesota’s 5th congressional district since 2019. She was born on October 4, 1982. She is the first Somali American, the first naturalized citizen of African birth, and the first woman of color to hold an elective office from Minnesota. She is also one of the first two Muslim women to serve in Congress. She is associate as a member of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party.
Before her election to Congress, Omar served in the Minnesota House of Representatives from 2017 to 2019, representing part of Minneapolis. Her congressional district includes all of Minneapolis and some of its suburbs.
Omar is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and has advocated for a living wage, affordable housing, universal healthcare, student loan debt forgiveness, the protection of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, and abolishing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). She has strongly opposed the immigration policies of Trump administration, including the Trump travel ban. She has been the subject of several death threats, conspiracy theories, other harassment by political opponents, and false and misleading claims by Donald Trump.
Her father’s name was Nur Omar Mohamed who dies because of COVID 19. Omar was born in Mogadishu, Somalia on October 4, 1982, and spent her early years in Baidoa, Somalia. She was the junior of seven siblings, including sister Sahra Noor. Her father, Nur Omar Mohamed, an ethnic Somali from the Majeerteen clan of Northeastern Somalia, Nautical as a teacher trainer. Her mother, Fadhuma Abukar Haji Hussein, a Benadiri, died when Ilhan was two. She was raised by her father and grandfather, who were moderate Sunni Muslims opposed to the rigid Wahhabi interpretation of Islam. Her grandfather Abukar was the director of Somalia’s National Marine Transport, and some of Omar’s uncles and aunts also worked as civil servants and educators. She and her family fled Somalia to escape the war and spent four years in a Dadaab refugee camp in Garissa County, Kenya, near the Somali border
Omar attended Thomas Edison High School and volunteered there as a student organization. She graduated from North Dakota State University in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree, majoring in political science and international studies. Omar was a Policy Fellow at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs, Ilhan and her family fled the country’s civil war when she was eight-years-old.Ilhan’s attentiveness in politics began at the age of 14 when she was as an interpreter for her grandfather at local DFL caucuses. Watching neighbors come together to recommend for change at the grassroots level made Ilhan fall in love with the democratic system. As a student at Edison High School in Minneapolis, she became an organizer and has been a coalition ganger ever since. She worked as a community educator at the University of Minnesota and has been a devoted progressive activist in the DFL party for many years. Before running for office, Ilhan was a Humphrey Policy Fellow and served as a senior Policy Aide for a Minneapolis City Council representative. Through advocacy work with which she’s been involved, she’s advanced important issues, including support for working families, educational access, environmental protection, and racial equity. In 2016, Ilhan became the first Somali-American, Muslim legislator in the United States. With the help of Ilhan omar committed campaign team, they increased voter turnout by 37%. She was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives in District 60B.
Omar started her professional career as a community nutrition educator at the University of Minnesota, working in that capacity from 2006 to 2009 in the Greater Minneapolis Saint Paul area. In 2012, she served as campaign manager for Kari Dziedzic’s reelection campaign for the Minnesota State Senate. Between 2012 and 2013, she was a child nutrition outreach coordinator at the Minnesota Department of Education In 2013, Omar managed Andrew Johnson’s campaign for Minneapolis City Council. After Johnson was elected, she served a role as his Senior Policy Aide from 2013 to 2015. During a contentious precinct caucus that turned violent in February 2014, she was attacked by five people and was injured. According to MinnPost, the day before the caucus, Minneapolis city council member Abdi Warsame had told Johnson to warn Omar not to attend the meeting.
As of September 2015, Omar was the Director of Policy Initiatives of the Women Organizing Women Network, advocating for women from East Africa to take on civic and political leadership roles. In September 2018, Jeff Cirillo of Roll Call called her a “progressive rising star.”
In 2016 she was elected as the Minnesota House Representative for District 60B, making her the highest-elected Somali-American public official in the United States and the first Somali-American State Legislator. Rep. Omar played a role as the Assistant Minority Leader, with assignments to three house committees; Civil Law & Data Practices Policy, Higher Education & Career Readiness Policy, and Finance, and State Government Finance.
Financial transparency issues
In 2018, Republican state representative Steve Drazkowski publicly accused Omar of campaign finance violations, claiming that she used campaign funds to pay a divorce lawyer and that her acceptance of speaking fees from public colleges violated Minnesota House rules. Omar responded that the attorney’s fees were not personal but campaign-related; she offered to return the speaking fees. Drazkowski later blame for Omar of improperly using campaign funds for personal travel to Estonia and locations in the U.S.
She was the Representative, United States House of Representatives, Minnesota, District 5, 2019-present, Minnesota State House of Representatives, District 60B, 2017-2019. She is the Candidate of the United States House of Representatives, Minnesota, District 5, 2018, 2020. She was assistant Minority Leader of Minnesota State House of Representatives, 2017-2019. Also, she was the Candidate of the Minnesota State House of Representatives, District 60B, 2016.
Current Legislative Committees
She associates her as a member of Budget, Education & Labor, Foreign Affairs and also a member of Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations, and Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Investment and member of Subcommittee on Workforce Protections and member of Subcommittee in Oversight and Investigations (Foreign Affairs)
Her publications are “Extension nutrition educators use a hands-on approach to bridge Somali culture and American society “ and another one is
“The new faces of the Mpls NAACP” and the last one is
“Inside the Somali Political Movement”
She was awarded as Rising Star, DFL Women’s Hall of Fame, May 2014, and Community Leadership Award, Mshale, 2015,
Religious, civic, and other membership
Former Board Member, Confederation of Somali Community of MN, Democratic-Farmer-Labor State Central Committee, Legal Rights Center, Young Men Christian Association.
She was the Director of Policy & Initiatives, Women Organizing Women Network, 2015-present, as well as Policy Fellow, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University Of Minnesota. She was Senior Policy Aide, Office of City of Minneapolis Council Member Andrew Johnson, 2013-201 And Campaign Manager, Andrew Johnson for Ward 12, 2013.She was Coordinator ofChild Nutrition Outreach, Minnesota Department of Education, 2012-2013. And Campaign Manager, Kari Dzeidzik for Minnesota State Senate, 2012.Community Nutrition Educator, University of Minnesota, 2006-2009.