Mana Abdi becomes 1st Somali-American elected to Maine Legislature

LEWISTON, Maine -- Mana Abdi, a Democratic candidate for House District 95, folds a campaign flyer while canvassing voters in Lewiston. Abdi said her top priorities are increasing funding for public schools and improving Lewiston's housing stock. She is one of two Somali-American State House candidates this year, alongside South Portland Mayor Deqa Dhalac.
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Mana Abdi has become the first Somali-American elected to statewide office in Maine.

Abdi, a Democrat who ran unopposed, will represent Lewiston in the Maine Legislature for House District 95.

On Tuesday, Abdi called her election another step toward the Legislature becoming more representative of the state’s growing diversity, saying “Maine should be celebrating,” according to the Sun Journal.

Abdi was originally set to take on Republican Fred Sanborn-Silvers. But he bowed out of the race in mid-August, clearing the way for her historic win.

She was born in a refugee camp after her family fled the conflict in Somalia. She eventually came to Maine, where she attended middle and high school in Lewiston before going onto the University of Maine at Farmington.

Abdi currently works at Bates College’s Office of Intercultural Education.

As a candidate, she ran on a platform that included emphasizing more financial support for public education.