- Democrat Safiya Wazir, 27, defeated Republican Dennis Soucy for a seat in New Hampshire’s House of Representatives in Tuesday’s Midterm elections.
- The mother-of-two escaped Afghanistan as a child and lived in a Uzbekistan refugee camp for ten years before relocating to Concord, New Hampshire, in 2007.
- She is the first former refugee to win a seat in the state legislature.
An Afghan woman who fled the Taliban was voted into New Hampshire’s House of Representatives on Tuesday.
Democrat Safiya Wazir, 27, is the first former refugee to win a seat in the state legislature after defeating Republican Dennis Soucy for the seat.
The mother-of-two escaped Afghanistan as a child and lived in a Uzbekistan refugee camp for ten years before relocating to Concord, New Hampshire, in 2007, where she learned English by studying a dictionary, according to The Herald Extra.
Wazir earned a business degree from Concord’s community college and became a US citizen in 2013.
During the race for the seat in Concord’s Ward 8, Wazir campaigned on a platform highlighting affordable housing, school safety and educational improvements, Huffington Post reported.
She is also a member on the board of directors for Community Action Program of Belknap-Merrimack Counties and the vice chair of the Head Start Policy Council.
Ahead of Tuesday’s election, Wazir said New Hampshire should welcome diversity.
“Our state is aging, and we need younger people to stay in the state in order for us to move forward,” Wazir told The Associated Press. “Immigrants or refugees have ideas that they could contribute into this state because every bit of new blood brings new ideas to the state.”
Wazir’s race garnered national attention after she defeated incumbent Dick Patten in a September primary.
Patten had held four terms as a state representative.