For First Time Refugee Woman Elected as State Representative

A woman who as a child fled from the Taliban in Afghanistan won a seat in the New Hampshire state legislature on Tuesday.

Safiya Wazir, 27, is believed to be the first former refugee to serve in the New Hampshire House of Representatives, The Concord Monitor reported.

Wazir defeated GOP opponent Dennis Soucy by almost 200 votes, according to unofficial election results.

“Thank you to everyone who helped me win my state rep. race tonight, 907-718,” Wazir tweeted. “I am grateful for all your support and I’m ready to get to work for Concord’s Ward 8 and for NH!”

According to the newspaper, her election came a couple of months after she gained national attention for winning the Democratic primary over incumbent Dick Patten.

Patten, a four-term state representative, had been critical of Wazir and the immigrant population in the region. He also said he would support Soucy in the race, according to The Monitor.

The newspaper reported that Wazir and her family fled the Taliban when she was a child. She later spent several years in a refugee camp in Uzbekistan before moving to Concord, N.H.

Wazir is a member of the board of directors for the Community Action Program of Belknap-Merrimack Counties in New Hampshire. She also serves as vice chair of the Head Start Policy Council.

She is one of many female candidates from a diverse background to be elected to state or U.S. office in this year’s midterm elections.

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