State Rep. Ilhan Omar appears on cover of Time magazine

Omar, the first Somali-American female lawmaker in the U.S., represents Minnesota’s House District 60B, which covers the University of Minnesota.


House District 60B-elect Ilhan Omar speaks at her election party on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016 at the Courtyard Marriott on West Bank in Minneapolis

Chris Dang

House District 60B-elect Ilhan Omar speaks at her election party on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016 at the Courtyard Marriott on West Bank in Minneapolis

Ryan Faircloth

A local lawmaker will be featured on the cover of Time magazine. 

DFL state Rep. Ilhan Omar is one of 46 women featured in a Time special project titled, “Firsts: Women who are Changing the World.” The list includes other prominent women like Hillary Clinton, Ellen DeGeneres and Oprah Winfrey.

Omar — the first Somali-American lawmaker in the U.S. — was elected last November to represent state House District 60B, which covers the University of Minnesota, Cedar-Riverside and surrounding neighborhoods. The election followed her defeat of longtime incumbent Phyllis Kahn in the August Democratic primary.

In Omar’s Time essay, she discusses her journey from Somalia to the U.S. and how gender stereotypes played a role in last year’s election. 

“The incumbent I was running against was a trailblazer when it comes to women in politics, so you would think that my gender wouldn’t be a big issue,” Omar said. “But everybody wanted to make that an issue.”

Omar also talked about learning what it means to be black and Muslim in America. 

“When you’re growing up in an environment where your faith and your race are not topics of conversation, it’s really hard to come to an environment where all of that means something,” she said. 

Omar’s essay and the rest of the special multimedia project will be included in Time’s Sep. 18 issue on newsstands Friday.