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Senator Norm Coleman of Minnesota Deserves A Second Term in the US Senate
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D I T O R I A L
HIIRAAN ONLINE
Tuesday, September 23, 2008

 


U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minnesota


As the 2008 American election draws near to the finish line with a stiff competition between the two major parties--Republican and Democratic, the Somali-American bloc vote is as crucial in this election season as any other time before. One is quick to remember the close race between Bush and Gore in 2000 where every vote was counted and recounted even by hand-- remember the “Hanging Chad!” with the victor receiving less than 500,000 votes more than the looser. The 2008 election in many ways resembles, both at the local and national level the highly contested 2000 election where the US Supreme Court and not the electorate determining the winner. The two parties again this year seem to divide the American electorate in half (Blue states versus Red States), giving communities such as Somali-Americans an important opportunity to tip the balance in their favor.
 
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For many Somali-Americans though, Bush’s eight-year reign of military adventurism and economic meltdown is enough to make them look the other way.  
 
At a time when the Republican brand suffers from a debilitating eight years of Bush’s misguided foreign policy with neo-conservatives at the helm, a war on terror run amuck, an endless Iraq war, and an economic recession at the home front with skyrocketing gas prices, many Somali-Americans like their fellow citizens are not delusional about the current depressing state of their affairs and are eager for a change at both the national and local levels.
 
In Minnesota, however, there is a unique Republican whose six years at the US Senate means a great deal for Minnesotans and particularly for Somali Americans who care deeply about their war-ravaged homeland. Senator Norm Coleman has been a strong advocate for Somalia at the US Senate working across party line with Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin who is without a doubt the foremost expert on African Affairs and Somalia in particular at the US Senate.  Among his accomplishments at the US Senate, Senator Coleman spearheaded the effort to name a special envoy to Somalia, highlighting its importance in the US government and co-sponsored much needed legislation favorable to Somalia. 
 
Senator Coleman meets with Top Somali  Artist Hiba Mohamed (Hiba Nura).
Unlike senators from states with large Somali-American communities such as Ohio, Virginia, Maine and others, this senator from Minnesota has been actively and visibly working for Somali-American families in his state on many issues ranging from family reunification challenges to establishing a sound US foreign policy toward Somalia.  Senator Coleman, who is a former Democrat turned Republican, is an honorable man who cares deeply about the plight of Somali Americans in his state and an ardent advocate for Somalia. He is the first US Senator to recruit a Somali-American liaison in his office. Regrettably, his association with the Bush administration’s foreign policy failures in the Middle East and in the Horn of Africa and particularly US support for Ethiopian incursion into Somali territory is his biggest liability with Somali-American voters.
 
It is rather impossible to find a candidate in which the Somali-American community may agree with on all the prevailing issues 100% of the time. However, when one compares Senator Coleman’s record of public service to his constituents and the challenges they face as they began a new journey in America, as well as his commitment to improve humanitarian assistance to millions suffering in Somalia, his competition will no doubt pale in comparison.
 
Even though there is an overwhelming desire for change in Minnesota and elsewhere in America, we believe that Senator Coleman’s six-year record in the US Senate should outweigh any concerns about his party affiliation.
 
The good senator from Minnesota, we believe, deserves a second term in the United States Senate.
 
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