Madison voters elect first Muslim to Wisconsin's Legislature

Posted at 8:53 PM, Nov 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-05 23:30:44-05

MADISON — This week will be historic for many reasons. Here in Wisconsin, Madison Alderman Samba Baldeh will become the first-ever Muslim to join the Wisconsin Legislature.

He's a former software engineer. Now, he's joining the State Assembly. Samba Baldeh talked about what this victory means for representation in Wisconsin politics.

"I thought it was important to be at the table and really be a part of the decision-making process,” Baldeh said.

Baldeh was congratulated by New York state Attorney General Leticia James as he spoke with members of the group Muslim Advocates on a Zoom call.

He was joined by other Muslim politicians who claimed victory this week in elections.

"I'm looking forward to it. It's a very exciting opportunity,” Baldeh said.

Baldeh is a native of Gambia, a small country in western Africa. He said he first heard about Wisconsin during a conference in Washington D.C.

"It was difficult to pronounce. I didn't even know something like that existed,” Baldeh joked.

Now, more than 20 years later, he lives in Madison. The longtime software engineer, turned alderman, will soon be a state representative.

He said he has some agenda items that are top of mind: the pandemic, unemployment, housing disparities, criminal and education reform.

"It's sinking in. I do the work of the people. I give it my best and hope for the best result,” Baldeh said.

Baldeh will make history when he is sworn in, this January.

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