Nadia Mohamed has been elected mayor of St. Louis Park, making her the city’s first black mayor in 170 years, Minnesota’s first Somali American mayor, the first Somali American elected mayor in the U.S., and the second known Somali mayor in U.S. history.
St. Louis Park on Tuesday became the first city in the United States to elect a Somali American mayor.
City Council Member Nadia Mohamed, 27, won by a considerable margin against retired banker Dale A. Anderson in Tuesday’s election, becoming the nation’s first elected Somali American mayor as well as the first black mayor of St. Louis Park.
“This is a milestone. This is not the destination,” said the mayor-elect, thanking her supporters Tuesday. “As mayor, I want to ensure people see themselves reflected in our policies.”
Supporters clamored for selfies with Mohamed after she declared victory.
Mohamed was elected to an at-large council seat in 2019 at age 23, making her the youngest person to serve on the St. Louis Park City Council.
My best friend since sixth grade, my sister in the fight, a true public servant. I could not be more proud of @Nadia_Mohameds, the first Muslim and first Black mayor of Saint Louis Park! pic.twitter.com/ygbt1NLzFu
— Zaynab Mohamed (@ZaynabMMohamed) November 8, 2023
State Rep. Deqa Dhalac of South Portland, Maine, was the first Somali American to serve as mayor of an American city in 2021, but she was selected by that city’s six-member council rather than elected by the voters.
Mohamed campaigned for investment in community policing and programs to make homeownership more affordable. She was endorsed by Mayor Jake Spano, who did not seek re-election.
“I wanted to be the last in a line of all-white mayors in the city,” Spano said Tuesday night. “She’s got a great staff around her … and a community that’s going to support her.”
Mohamed was also endorsed by Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan and state Reps. Larry Kraft of St. Louis Park and Cheryl Youakim of Hopkins.
Speaking to supporters Tuesday night, Mohamed spoke about her mother’s journey to settle in St. Louis Park, giving her the confidence to enter politics at a young age.
“I have watched a courageous woman handle her business every day,” Mohamed said. “That courage comes easy to me now.”
According to a Twitter post Tuesday, Mohamed is close to another prominent Somali American elected official, state Sen. Zaynab Mohamed, who congratulated Nadia Mohamed, saying they were best friends since the sixth grade. Zaynab Mohamed was among the first Black women elected to the state Senate in 2022.
Mohamed’s status as the first Somali mayor is especially notable in St. Louis Park, which has long been known as a haven for Minnesota’s Jewish community. Because neighboring Edina and Minneapolis placed discriminatory covenants on homes, restricting the rights of Jews (and other racial and ethnic minorities) from buying them, Jews flocked to St. Louis Park. The city was once home to notable Americans, including the journalist Thomas Friedman, the filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen and former U.S. Sen. Al Franken.
St. Louis Park was also a haven for Mohamed’s mother, who uprooted her life in Somalia to create a life for her kids, Mohamed said in her election victory speech.
“She gets to watch her daughter go and legislate at the same building where she used to pay her public housing rent,” Mohamed said.
Her mother planted a kiss on her cheek as she announced herself as the first Muslim mayor in St. Louis Park history.
According to the World Population Review, Minnesota has the largest Somali population in the United States with 64,354 Somalis, making up 1.12% of the state’s total population. Ohio is home to the second-largest Somali population, with 21,051 individuals comprising 0.18% of the state’s population.
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