8 things to know about Hamida Dakane, the first Somali woman elected into North Dakota State House of Representatives

Ben Ebuka December 26, 2022
Hamida Dakane stands in the Al Hamdi Restaurant on Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2022, in south Fargo. Photo credit: Michael Vosburg/The Forum

Hamida Dakane, who was before now only known in her state, North Dakota, has made history and international headlines following her victory at the just concluded November general elections.

Before her political victory, she was a community organizer, inspired to embrace her dream of offering social support to others. She is always involved in issues concerning immigrants, social reform, child care, and religious tolerance.

Hamida actively participated in the cleanup effort of the mosque in Moorhead after the vandalization of the religious building in 2021.

She once said, “I am a Muslim and I am Black. It is very important for me personally and my religion. There are young girls looking up to us, and it is good for them to see that even with my head covered, you can still do your job.”

“There are a lot of things in Islam that doesn’t align with Democrats, but that doesn’t apply to the community. I am not representing a Muslim state. It is to let the young immigrants in our community know that although they came from somewhere, this is their home.”

Political Journey

With a humble beginning from her birth in northeastern Kenya’s Somali region, Dakane moved to the U.S. in 2011 on a student visa. Growing up in Kenya, Hamida was always interested in politics. She got motivated after the election of Heidi Heitkamp, a Democrat elected into the U.S. Senate.

In 2020, she made her first attempt to run for a political office, where she lost out on a seat in District 16 before the redistricting by the 67th Legislative Assembly in November 2021.

In November 2022, she ran for a seat under the Democratic Party to represent District 10 in the North Dakota House of Representatives. She got elected after polling 31.8% of valid votes. Hamida assumed office on December 1, 2022. Her election will see her serve a two-year tenure from December 1, 2022 to December 1, 2024.

While running her campaign, she stood on these points that endeared her to the voters.

“The healthiest communities are the ones that work together – I will bring the spirit of cooperation as Representative of District 10.

“I will address concerns unique to my district. We need to fight against skyrocketing rent costs and expand access to childcare for our residents.

“We must also invest in Head Start and make it affordable and accessible. Children should have access to Head Start through our public schools from an early age.”

“Over the past decade, I have helped create positive change for our community. I am proud of the work I’ve accomplished, and I’m ready to bring that work to Bismarck. The people of District 10 deserve a leader who will fight for them and make their voices heard in our state legislature.”

Ten Things to Know About Hamida Dakane

  1. Member of North Dakota State House of Representatives.
  2. Hamida was born in northeastern Kenya’s Somali region and moved to the USA in 2011.
  3. She chaired the Black Student Association while studying bachelor’s degree in Emergency Management and International Studies at North Dakota State University.
  4. She obtained her Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Mary.
  5. In 2018, she got appointed to the Fargo Human Relations Commission, where she served as Commissioner.
  6. She is a YCWA Woman of the Year Award Winner.
  7. She is a Fargo Human Rights Award Winner.
  8. She is a Social Reformer.

Hukun Dabar, Executive Director of the Afro-American Development Association, said, “Dakane’s win has opened a door for all of us.”

Last Edited by:Sandra Appiah Updated: December 26, 2022


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