Alright – so, Minnesota had a primary election Tuesday and there were big winners and losers. Let’s just start with the biggest winner. Ilhan Omar from district 60B which has the largest Somalis in Minneapolis won beating a fellow Somali – Noor and Rep Kahn.
Rep Kahn represented this district which includes parts of the University of Minnesota for decades – over 40 years. I think that is before Ms. Omar was even born. Kahn has been no friend to us or autism families in this district and to those that are low income or minority autism families. She has always voted for bills and legislations that hurt our equal access goals and leveling autism therapy opportunities. In fact, she is a co-sponsor of a current bill – HF 3289 which wants unlimited and unchecked autism therapy coverage for wealthier autism families which will most likely make therapy providers not take Medicaid autistic kids and will eventually force DHS to decrease the reimbursement rate for Medicaid autism therapy coverage. I will explain more about this bill in a later post.
I for one am glad that Kahn lost, but the icing is that she lost to a woman of color. This district has one of the highest economic, health and education gaps in the state and even in the nation for people of color and Kahn has mostly ignored those constituents. So, Rep Kahn – good bye and good riddance.
Ilhan will face another Somali in November, Askar who is representing the Republican party. Think about this for a minute – two Somali Americans running in the same district. In other words, no matter who wins, our community will win. If that is not assimilation then I don’t know what is. Congrats to Ilhan and Askar and good luck to you both!
Another amazing loss was Rep. Mullery who also was no friend to minority autism families. He lost to a minority person as well. Really folks, does it get better than this. I hope this is a clear message and a lesson to those at the state capitol if you don’t represent all of your constituents – someone will come along and vote you out.
Couple of wins that I am not all that thrilled about are Sen. Hayden who usually ignores most of our community’s needs including autism and mostly marches to Sen. Bakk’s beat. And, Rep. Moran who is usually silent and hardly fights for our issues especially if God forbid we have different opinions or views. There is always next election.
A sad loss to the autism community was Sen. Sean Nienow who has been a true friend to us and our issues. I will miss him and hope he runs again next time. Sen. Nienow had this ability of speaking from the heart about legislations and relating it to his personal story. Even if he didn’t support a particular bill or legislation we wanted, he always explained his position so well that we could agree to disagree respectfully. There was never any bias or bull from him.
What does this all mean for autism? well in our community and those that live in district 60B, I think mostly this is good news. I am confident that Ilhan or Askar will truly represent everyone including autism families in a fair and transparent manner.
As usual, above words do not represent any candidate, agency or committee.
Idil – Autism Mom & Advocate