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Incumbent Said has challenger in District 191

Friday August 20, 2021
by John Gessner

Special election is Nov. 2

Incumbent Suad “Sue” Said and Abriana Savage, both of Burnsville, are running in a Nov. 2 special election for a seat on the Burnsville-Eagan-Savage District 191 School Board.

The board appointed Said in December to temporarily fill the seat left by Jen Holweger, who resigned in October 2020 during her first term. The mother of four said family demands left her too little time to serve on the board.

The winner of the special election will serve until January 2023, the remainder of Holweger’s term.

Said ran for the board last November, losing to incumbent Eric Miller and newcomers Toni Conner and Anna Werb.

She then applied for appointment to temporarily fill the Holweger vacancy. After her appointment, Said said she hadn’t decided if she’d run in a state-mandated special election for the remainder of the term.

Her experience on the board during the COVID-19 pandemic provided the answer.

“I really appreciated some of the challenges that I was faced with,” said Said, 35, the board’s first Somali-American member. “It gives me the confidence that I was looking for that I can do this with the right mindset and support from my colleagues.”

An immigrant to America at age 3, Said graduated from Burnsville High School in 2005. The mother of four works as a career counselor for the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

She said families have supported the health and safety steps the district has taken during the pandemic.

“I just appreciate the overwhelming support that our community members have given to our district,” she said. “It just lets me know the reason I want to be part of that and continue that path.”

Said said she hopes the district’s newly announced mask mandate for the coming school year can be lifted at some point during the year. The goal is to contain transmission so schools can remain open, she said.

Said serves on the board Policy Committee.

Suad "Sue" Said
Abriana Savage

“I love to kind of dive in and understand the details of certain things and see what can be better or what can be changed to serve students in the 21st century,” she said.

If elected, she said she hopes for appointment to the board Legislative Committee.

“I am so interested in working the interests of our students up the ladder into the legislative area,” she said.

Savage attended Harriet Bishop Elementary and Eagle Ridge Middle School in District 191 and is a 2015 graduate of Burnsville High School. Since then, she said she has performed around the Twin Cities as a singer and rapper and worked in the service industry. Savage has a 2-year-old daughter.

She said she’s interested in a political career, and running for School Board is a first step.

“But I’m also really passionate about it,” Savage said. She said she worked as an AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) tutor three years ago at Nicollet Middle School and BHS, “and I really loved being there for the kids and helping them.”

She sees similarities between music and politics.

“I noticed in a lot of my raps it was often just social commentary, and it was like writing speeches in my raps, and I thought I might as well write speeches,” Savage said. “My mom works in contract negotiations. If you really think about it, that’s almost what politics is — contract negotiations. It’s in my blood.”

If elected, she has something she wants to look into.

“I heard when I was tutoring at AVID that the water at Nicollet is not good,” Savage said. “I’d like to look into that. I’m not sure anyone has, if it’s been brought up. I’ve heard it’s been that way for a number of years.”


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