Wednesday January 9, 2019
For the first time ever the city of Barron has two Somali candidates running for an open city council seat.
There are three candidates looking to fill the open council seat, two
of which are Somali, and candidate Isaak Mohamed said they could make
“In Wisconsin I will be one of the first to run for city council and hoping I will win for this position,” said Mohamed.
Mohamed says while he hopes to
represent the community of Barron as a whole it would be an honor to
also be a voice for the Somali population.
“We need to be heard,” he said. “I'm a
U.S. citizen in the United States. I came to this country as a refugee. I
was helped by the community of Barron; I was helped by the U.S.
government. I want to give back to the U.S. government, I want to show
them who I am by doing good things for the city of Barron and also the
community of Barron.”
Candidate Faisal Ahmed says he's
running for office to show his children that refugees like himself can
do better for themselves by serving their community.
“It means to me a lot,” said Ahmed. “If I can at least give back
something to the community that welcomed me and my family so it's very
good for me if I get any chance that I can to do anything better for the
The city says to its knowledge there's
never been a Somali city council member in Barron and city administrator
Bob Kazmierski said potentially having another ethnicity in local
government is overdue.
“Because of the large frequency of
minority groups in the community it just makes sense that there's
representation from different ethnic groups with a public body such as a
common council,” said Kazmierski.
The city also says it will be the only
one in Barron County to hold a special election in February to narrow
down the city council candidates from three to two ahead of the April
“It's a challenge to get people engaged
with local government so I think we're fortunate we have three
candidates that are willing and able to run,” added Kazmierski.
The third candidate Paul Solie declined
to speak on-camera but says he's thrilled there are Somali candidates
to represent the community and looks forward to working together no
matter what the outcome of the election.