It’s time to elect Ilhan Omar

University of Minnesota students have many reasons to pay attention in the upcoming election. We are burdened with expenses at a higher rate than ever before, yet our state Legislature continues to reject proposals to freeze costs for students. It’s difficult to feel as though our state leaders care about student needs at all.
 
 
But Ilhan Omar, a candidate running for State Representative in District 60B, is different. Omar’s lived experience with the public school system and her commitment to student representation make her the only candidate in the 60B race who will prioritize the needs of students. 
 
 
As student body leaders, we are only as effective at representing students as the allies we have in the Legislature. We know Omar will be the ally we need. We trust her because of her steadfast belief that everyone is entitled to the opportunity education can provide.  Omar is a graduate of the public school system herself, and she’s still paying off her student loans. She knows how the system works — or doesn’t work — for students.
 
 
Minnesota’s extreme educational disparities and the fight for diversity at our own University are evidence that too few Minnesotans of color are able to access a quality education. We need someone who will challenge the unacceptable status quo. Rep. Phyllis Kahn has represented our district for more than 43 years, and it’s time for a new vision for the future.
 
 
As an immigrant and woman of color, Omar’s background allows her to understand what must be done to make our education system more representative of the diversity in our state. We know she will fight to make sure all students have access to education and that their voices are heard at the state government, too. 
 
 
Omar’s commitment to student representation isn’t just empty talk. Throughout the race, she has been present in ways the other candidates in the District 60B race have not. She is the only candidate who has consistently sought out the opinions of students, whether at “Coffee with the Candidate” events in campus neighborhoods or during on-campus caucus trainings. Many students are planning to attend the March 1caucuses for presidential candidates, but this local race is just as important. We’re caucusing for Omar, and we urge all students to support the one candidate who is dedicated to supporting them.
 
 
Joelle Stangler
Undergraduate Student Body President
 
 
Abeer Syedah
Undergraduate Student Body Vice President