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Afghan refugee who fled Taliban elected to NH House

Afghan refugee who fled Taliban elected to NH House

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Nov 08, 2018 - 14:54

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): An Afghan woman, who fled the Talibaninfo-icon as a child, was voted into New Hampshire's House of Representatives on Tuesday, media reports said.

Democrat Safiya Wazir defeated Republican Dennis Soucy for the seat in New Hampshire's House of Representatives in Tuesday's Midterm elections.

The 27-year-old becomes the first former refugee to win a seat in the state legislature.  The mother-of-two escaped Afghanistaninfo-icon 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.

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, Wazir said ahead of Tuesday's election 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.

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