By Josie Albertson-Grove Star Tribune
Wednesday November 8, 2023
Mohamed, who had already won citywide as an at-large council member and had the backing of Mayor Jake Spano, defeated retired banker Dale A. Anderson.
St. Louis Park on Tuesday became the first city in the United States to elect a Somali American mayor.
City Council Member Nadia Mohamed, 27, won by a considerable margin against retired banker Dale A. Anderson in Tuesday’s election, becoming the nation’s first elected Somali American mayor as well as the first Black mayor of St. Louis Park.
“This is a milestone. This is not the destination,” said the mayor-elect, thanking her supporters Tuesday. “As mayor, I want to ensure people see themselves reflected in our policies.”
Supporters clamored for selfies with Mohamed after she declared victory.
Mohamed was elected to an at-large council seat in 2019 at age 23, making her the youngest person to serve on the St. Louis Park City Council.
State Rep. Deqa Dhalac of South Portland, Maine, was the first Somali American to serve as mayor of an American city in 2021, but she was selected by that city’s six-member council rather than elected by the voters.
Mohamed campaigned for investment in community policing and programs to make homeownership more affordable. She was endorsed by Mayor Jake Spano, who did not seek re-election.
“I wanted to be the last in a line of all-white mayors in the city,” Spano said Tuesday night. “She’s got a great staff around her … and a community that’s going to support her.”
Mohamed was also endorsed by Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan and state Reps. Larry Kraft of St. Louis Park and Cheryl Youakim of Hopkins.
Speaking to supporters Tuesday night, Mohamed spoke about her mother’s journey to settle in St. Louis Park, giving her the confidence to enter politics at a young age.
“I have watched a courageous woman handle her business every day,” Mohamed said. “That courage comes easy to me now.”
In other west metro elections Tuesday, Roslyn Harmon was elected mayor of Golden Valley, narrowly defeating Council Member Gillian Rosenquist, an attorney. Harmon, executive director of St. Paul-based Dispute Resolution Center, will be the city’s first Black mayor.
And in Minnetonka, voters struck down a proposed charter amendment to repeal ranked-choice voting in municipal elections. Nearly 59% of voters rejected the amendment, while 41% voted to approve it.