Don’t choose seniority over progress

In this election cycle, we have discovered some very troubling things about our State Representative, Phyllis Kahn.

We have learned that she doesn’t think students care about issues. We’ve learned that she thinks we only vote for candidates that are “pretty” or “nice.” We’ve learned that she compares herself to Bernie Sanders to get votes while maxing out her support for Hillary Clinton. 

We’ve learned that Kahn was elected as a scientist on the pretense of diversity, but now she thinks that voting for an East African activist for the same reason is invalid.

Student concerns only seem to matter to Kahn when it’s time to vote for her. She hasn’t authored any substantial higher-education bills until this contentious election. Luckily, we have an alternative.

Ilhan Omar takes students seriously. She’s outspoken about finding solutions to lower college costs, as well as about holding administrations accountable to make the college experience inclusive and accessible for all.

She built her higher education platform by having actual conversations with students. When we talk, Ilhan listens. She will make student needs a priority at the State Capitol.

Students at private schools like Augsburg College will benefit from Ilhan’s leadership, too. Auggies have a mission statement that commits students to urban communities and diversity. Ilhan shares that mission.

She’s proven that by visiting campus, listening to us and showing that she thinks just like we do. She’s done the same at the University of Minnesota.

Every student now will (hopefully) graduate in the next few years, but just because student populations are transient doesn’t mean student issues are.

We might not be going to college four years from now, but someone else will. We’re voting for Ilhan because she has the energy and drive to make life better for students now and for the generations of students that will come after us. 

Minnesota’s future isn’t about the past 43 years — it’s about the next two when we have an opportunity to introduce a new voice at the State Capitol. We need someone who will boldly advocate for students and other disenfranchised communities. Vote for Ilhan Omar in the August 9 primary, and have your voice heard.


Charlie Parker and Jordan Parshall

University of Minnesota and 

Augsburg College students


Editor’s Note: This letter has been edited for clarity and accuracy.