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First Somali American nominee for Ohio House is ready to address priorities

Munira Abdullahi stands in front of the Ohio Statehouse
Munira For Ohio
Democratic candidate for the Ohio House of Representatives Munira Abdullahi.

Education, infrastructure, and health care are the top priorities for Ohio’s first Somali American to win a major party’s nomination in the state.

Munira Abdullahi won her race as a Democrat in the 9th State House District, which represents part of northeast Columbus, primary by more than 67% of the vote over her opponent Paul Filippelli. She says she is ready to work on her priorities.

“I think it’s not fair that just because of your zip code that you might not be entitled to a quality facility, a quality education,” says Abdullahi.

Abdullahi, 26, was born in a refugee camp in Kenya. She moved with her family to Columbus, Ohio when she was five years old and grew up on the Northeast Side of the city. She graduated from Columbus Alternative High School and then went on to earn a Political Science and International Relations degree from the Ohio State University in 2019.

Abdullahi knows there will be challenges working with the majority Republicans in the Ohio House.

“It’ll be difficult, but I don’t think it will be impossible,” says Abdullahi. “Some may say I’m naive, but I believe that we can find solutions to these issues that I think are bipartisan.”

Abdullahi credits her parents with inspiring her goals. She also wants to make healthcare and medications more affordable because as a person with type-1 diabetes she has struggled with high insulin prices and medical bills.

“Working at non-profits made me realize that a lot of these issues that we’re trying to fix, we’re really just putting band-aids on things and most of it comes from poor legislation,” says Abdullahi. “So, I decided why not address the problems from the root if I want to help more people.”

Abdullahi does not face a Republican opponent in the November 8 election, which makes it almost certain that she will take office in January.