WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-5th) was sworn in Jan. 3 as the representative from Minnesota's 5th Congressional District, making her the first Somali-American member of Congress, the first woman of color to represent Minnesota, and one of the first two Muslim-American women elected to Congress.
At her ceremonial swearing in, Omar used a Quran that belonged to her grandfather. As a teenager, Omar acted as her grandfather's translator at local caucuses in Minneapolis and he is the one who first sparked her interest in politics.
“I am deeply honored and humbled to have the opportunity to bring the voices of the people of my district to Washington and to fight for our shared values - values that put people at the center of our democracy,” said Omar. “I look forward to tackling many of the issues that I hear about most from my constituents – issues like investing in education and freeing students from the shackles of debt; ensuring a fair wage for a hard day’s work; creating a just immigration system and tackling the existential threat of climate change.”
Omar said she plans to resist the current administration's “attempts to divide us and push destructive policies that chip away at our rights and freedoms.”
“We have the opportunity to build a more inclusive and compassionate culture, one that will allow our economy to flourish and encourage more Americans to participate in our democracy,” said Omar.
With her first votes in the House, Omar voted for Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to serve as Speaker of the House and on legislation to bring an end to the government shutdown and reject Trump's border wall – a wall she called, “hateful.”