Noor looks to up student engagement before November election

House 60B candidate Mohamud Noor said he wants to focus on affordable higher education and student issues.

Mohammed Noor speaks during a forum for candidates for the 60B Senate seat formerly held by Ilhan Omar on Monday, July 16 at Cowles Auditorium.

Easton Green

Mohammed Noor speaks during a forum for candidates for the 60B Senate seat formerly held by Ilhan Omar on Monday, July 16 at Cowles Auditorium.

by Isabella Murray

Mohamud Noor spent the first day of class at the University of Minnesota engaging with students at Coffman Memorial Union. 

The House 60B candidate said it was important for him to be on campus for the start of the academic year. Noor’s  path to public office is paved with his past campaign experience and own life in Minneapolis.

“I don’t have all the solutions but I want to listen to the students, I want to listen to the people who came before me, and do better,” Noor said.

The district, which includes the University of Minnesota, Augsburg University, Prospect Park, Seward, Como and Cedar-Riverside, has been represented at the state Capitol by Ilhan Omar since 2016. Omar recently left her 60B seat to run for the Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District seat.

Noor’s emphasis on student issues comes from his experience running for the 60B seat in 2016 against Omar. Seeing her campaign’s success encouraged him to shift his strategy within the district.

“It’s all about bringing a coalition of the students, the long-term residents and the East African community,” Noor said. “Omar said the only candidate that can win the race has to bring this coalition together.”

To do this, Noor said he plans to increasingly involve students in his campaign and position if elected by mentoring liaisons in his office. He said engaging students in politics can bring their perspectives into policymaking and provide them legislative experience.

“For me, I’ve always believed in giving others hope and opportunity,” he said. “It’s a two-way street.”

If he wins the seat, Noor said he’d like to be involved in the University’s search for a new president.

“I’m looking forward to supporting someone who will be focused on reducing the student tuition,” Noor said. “Someone who is driven by the mission of the U, someone who is willing to collaborate with others, someone who is willing to have an open office for the students.”

A computer science graduate of Metropolitan State University, Noor dreamt of attending the University of Minnesota for graduate school. A lack of financial backing prevented him from attending but evoked a  belief in affordable higher education. 

Noor supports reforming The Minnesota College Affordability Act, a law that would make two and four-year public college programs free for families making less than $125,000 a year.

Noor, the executive director at the Confederation of Somali Community in Minnesota, is a former board member of Minneapolis Public Schools.

“He always took the time to make sure I was welcomed and acknowledged at School Board meetings,” Kenneth Eban, a University graduate who met Noor through the School Board,  said. “He’s always someone who recognizes me and goes out of his way to say hi.”

Angelo Jaramillo, a former candidate for the 60B seat and a second-year graduate student studying public policy at the University, dropped out three weeks ahead of the primary election. Jaramillo now focuses on voter outreach for Noor’s campaign.

“This isn’t his first rodeo running for political office. I think what he’s really gained from those experiences is the understanding of all the people in the district,” Jaramillo said. “He’s really a fighter for the whole community.”

Noor will face Republican candidate Joseph Patiño in the upcoming election.  Noor said he looks forward to increasing his presence at the University in the meantime.

“From safety to funding to education to housing, and policy initiatives and research and development, I’ll be an asset to the U,” Noor said.