Samirah sworn in as youngest member of House of Delegates

photoDel. Samirah

Dr. Ibraheem Samirah, 27, was sworn in this morning as the youngest member of the 400th Virginia General Assembly and the youngest Muslim American in elected office in the United States.

Samirah (D), a dentist, won a special election Tuesday to represent the 86th House District in the General Assembly, filling a vacancy created when state Sen. Jennifer Boysko was elected to till the Senate seat

“I ran for Delegate because our community requires a strong progressive leader who understands our diverse needs and backgrounds. In Richmond, I will continue the fight and advocate for things we can all agree on; such as affordable healthcare, decreased transportation costs, & improved early childhood education,” Samirah said.

Samirah won 60% of the vote in an election that was closely watched as a bellwether for 2019 prospects for the Democratic party in Virginia, defeating retired federal employee Gregg Nelson. Full results can be found at the Virginia Board of Elections.

Youngest in America

Samirah joins Del. Sam Rasoul (D-Roanoke) as the second Muslim in the Virginia General Assembly, and at 27 years old is the youngest member of the Assembly and becomes the youngest elected Muslim-American in the country.

Although Samirah was born in Chicago, he identifies strongly with the challenges of immigrant families seeking refuge in the United States.

“Throughout my young-adult life I struggled finding a place to call my home. In middle school, my father traveled to Jordan to care for my ailing grandmother, but he was denied re-entry into the United States by the George W. Bush administration,” he said. “My family was subsequently uprooted and forced to relocate abroad in order to stay together, but I never gave up on my American Dream. It took more than a decade, but my family eventually won, and my father’s immigration status was reinstated.”

“I worked extremely hard so I could one day return to the country I was born in. Eventually I attended American University in Washington D.C, dental school at Boston University, and then returned to Northern Virginia. Once I settled into this community, I knew immediately my search for home had come to an end,” Samirah said.

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James R. Hood
James R. Hood is the editor and publisher of FairfaxNews.com. A former Associated Press editor and executive, he has more than 50 years of reporting experience.