The city of St. Louis Park, Minnesota, made history on Election Day, becoming the first city in the United States to elect a Somali American as mayor. The winning candidate, 27-year-old Nadia Mohamed, has spent the last four years on the St. Louis Park City Council, and will now lead the city while also breaking several barriers.
Most notably, Mohamed is the first Somali American to win the general election for mayor of any city in the United States, although at least one other Somali American has served as a mayor of a U.S. city. Deqa Dhalac became mayor of Portland, Maine, in 2021, but she was appointed to that position by the city council, not elected. Additionally, Mohamed is the first Black person, the first Somali American, and the first Muslim to be elected mayor of St. Louis Park.
Nadia Mohamed could make history today by becoming the first Black, first Somali, and first Muslim mayor in St. Louis Park.
This afternoon, Nadia and city council candidate Yolanda Farris knocked on doors at St. Louis Park apartments to make sure residents make time to vote.… pic.twitter.com/2ZQIWH7L6P
— Sahan Journal (@SahanJournal) November 7, 2023
Mohamed was endorsed by outgoing St. Louis Park Mayor Jake Spano, who said that he and Mohamed agreed on the principles of being a good mayor, including belief in the ability of “the people of your community to do big things,” according to his endorsement statement.
— Nadia Mohamed (@Nadia_Mohameds) October 12, 2023
On election night Spano told supporters, “I wanted to be the last in a line of all-white mayors in the city,” per the Star Tribune.
Mohamed posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, that she was “deeply honored by the outpour of support by everyone” and expressed gratitude “for the opportunity to lead this great city.” While honoring the momentous nature of her election, Mohamed indicated that there would be more to come from her. ”Remember,” she tweeted, “this is a milestone, not the destination.”
I am deeply honored by the outpour of support by everyone. This election is a momentous one and I am truely grateful for the opportunity to lead this great city.
Remember, this is a milestone, not the destination.
Thank you everyone 🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/JUdgNInRKy
— Nadia Mohamed (@Nadia_Mohameds) November 9, 2023
Rep. Ilhan Omar, who is the first Somali American in U.S. Congress and whose district includes St. Louis Park, congratulated Mohamed on social media and echoed her language of milestones. “I am glad to have paved the way and can’t wait to see what more milestones we will cross as a community,” Rep. Omar tweeted. She added, “Love you sis, may tonight be the beginning of a productive mayorship.”
Congratulations to the first Somali mayor in America. I am incredibly proud of @Nadia_Mohameds, tonight’s victory is one we celebrate and cherish. I knew this day was possible and that she will make it happen because I have seen her work. These milestones we are breaking as… https://t.co/pf7iBSGzkl
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) November 8, 2023
Mohamed’s election comes at a key moment in which the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict has stirred up sharp disagreements as well as Islamophobia and antisemitism. Mohamed, in her role as a city councilor, has already reached out to the significant Jewish and Muslim communities in the city. And as mayor, she is set to represent all the people in her community. “We are diverse in our skin, in our religions, in our ethnicities, but we are a community nevertheless,” Mohamed told CNN. “And so this means that they get to see me representing every single person who is a resident here.”