Ilhan Omar

Ilhan Omar

POLITICIAN & ORGANIZER

Ilhan Omar is a Somali-American politician and organizer known for being the first Somali-American lawmaker in the history of the United States. Ilhan is a strong advocate for women’s rights, criminal justice reform, affordable healthcare, economic equality and clean energy.

Ilhan Omar is the youngest of seven children. Her family fled from Somalia during the civil war and spent four years in a refugee camp in Kenya. At the age of 12, she and her family came to the United States first moving to Arlington, VA and then relocating to Minneapolis, MN in 1995. After high school, she attended North Dakota State University (NDSU) where she graduated with a bachelor's degree in Political Science and International Studies.

Ilhan Omar began her career as Community Nutrition Educator with the University of Minnesota after graduating from NDSU. In 2012, Omar served as a Campaign Manager for Kari Dzeidzik's bid for a legislative seat in the Minnesota State Senate. Between 2012 and 2013, she was a Child Nutrition Outreach Coordinator with the Minnesota Department of Education. In 2013, Ilhan worked as a Campaign Manager for Andrew Johnson, as he ran for a municipal seat in Minneapolis' Ward 12. Following Andrew Johnson's successful campaign and election to the Minneapolis City Council, Ilhan Omar served as the Senior Policy Aide in his office until 2015. As of September 2015, Omar is the Director of Policy & Initiatives of the Women Organizing Women Network. The association advocates for women from East Africa to take on civic and political leadership roles.

In November of 2016, Ilhan Omar won the general election, becoming the first Somali-American legislator in the history of the United States. She won House District 60B in southeast Minneapolis with 80 percent of the vote. Ilhan officially began her term in the Minnesota House of Representatives on January 3, 2017.