Nadia Mohamed is Minnesota’s first Somali American Mayor

By: and - November 8, 2023 9:15 am

Nadia Mohamed is the second known Somali-born mayor in U.S. history. Photo courtesy of Nadia for SLP Mayor.

Nadia Mohamed has been elected the mayor of St. Louis Park, making her the city’s first Black mayor in 170 years, Minnesota’s first Somali American mayor and the second known Somali mayor in U.S. history. 

Mohamed secured 58% of the vote against Dale A. Anderson, a retired banker. 

Mohamed also represents a new generation of leadership in both the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party and St. Louis Park. She’s just 27, though she had already been elected to a citywide at-large seat on the City Council in 2019.  

“This is not the destination,” Mohamed told supporters Tuesday. “As mayor, I want to ensure people see themselves reflected in our policies.”

Mohamed garnered endorsements from Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan, a St. Louis Park resident, and former St. Louis Park Mayor Jake Spano, who commended her for her service on the St. Louis Park City Council. 

“One thing I’ve learned over the years is that to do the job of mayor, you have to love people, you have to love solving problems, and you have to believe in the people of your community to do good things. Council Member Mohamed and I agree on this,” Spano said.

Mohamed’s family immigrated to St. Louis Park when she was 10 years old, and she grew up in the St. Louis Park School District. In 2020, Mohamed took office on the City Council at just 23 years old, making her the youngest person to ever serve on St. Louis Park City Council. 

According to a Twitter post Tuesday, Mohamed is close to another prominent Somali American elected official, state Sen. Zaynab Mohamed, who congratulated Nadia Mohamed, saying they were best friends since the sixth grade. Zaynab Mohamed was among the first Black women elected to the state Senate in 2022. 

Mohamed’s status as the first Somali mayor is notable in St. Louis Park, which has long been known as a haven for another Minnesota religious minority — Minnesota’s Jewish community. Because neighboring Edina and Minneapolis placed discriminatory covenants on homes, restricting the rights of Jews (and other racial and ethnic minorities) from buying them, Jews flocked to St. Louis Park. The city was at one time home to notable Americans including the journalist Thomas Friedman, the filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen and former U.S. Sen. Al Franken. 

St. Louis Park was also a haven for Mohamed’s mother, who uprooted her life in Somalia to create a life for her kids, Mohamed said in her election victory speech.

“She gets to watch her daughter go and legislate at the same building where she used to pay her public housing rent,” Mohamed said. 

Her mother planted a kiss on her cheek as she announced herself as the first Muslim mayor in St. Louis Park history. 

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Nafi Soumare
Nafi Soumare

Nafi is an intern reporting for the Minnesota Reformer. Her interests in reporting include social justice, reform, and issues in the Minnesota education system.

J. Patrick Coolican
J. Patrick Coolican

J. Patrick Coolican is Editor-in-Chief of Minnesota Reformer. Previously, he was a Capitol reporter for the Minneapolis Star Tribune for five years, after a Knight-Wallace Fellowship at the University of Michigan and time at the Las Vegas Sun, Seattle Times and a few other stops along the way. He lives in St. Paul with his wife and two young children