The Sudanese-American Mazahir Salih became the first Muslim woman and immigrant to serve on the Iowa City Council, according to media reports.
Salih, who studied civil engineering at Sudan University of Science and Technology, came to the United States in 1997 earning a medical technician degree from Kirkwood. She lived in Virginia where she became a citizen, met her husband, and started a family. She moved to Iowa City in 2011.
In 2012 Salih helped found the Center for Worker Justice, where she worked as a volunteer, served as a vice-president and president, and currently works as a full-time community organizer. She has also been on numerous local boards, committees, and local social justice organizations.
Salih and incumbent Kingsley Botchway will fill the at-large seats in the Council for a term of four years.
The news of Salih's victory were celebrated across the nation, according to the Global Citizen, as .
During the campaign, both Salih and Botchway discussed improving Iowa City’s affordable housing situation.
Salih expressed interest during the campaign in improving the city’s transit system, especially for low-income residents. The public transportation system currently offers no service on Sundays with hourly stops on weekdays on most routes.
Salih said upon her win "I represent everybody in Iowa City, regardless if you moved half around the globe to come here like me or you were born here. I represent everybody in Iowa City,".
"I've been talking during my campaign about affordable housing, economic development for all and transportation for this community. I will immediately move ahead and promise to do what I work on," Salih said.
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