Sworn in, 1st Somali-American lawmaker says doors are open

In this Thursday, Jan. 5, 2017 photo, new State Rep. Ilhan Omar is interviewed in her office two days after the 2017 Legislature convened in St. Paul, Minn. Omar is the first Somali-American to be elected to a state legislature in the U.S. The 33-year-old wife, mother, refugee and immigrant reflected on her many roles and how she'll try to voice and inspiration for denigrated minority communities like her own. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — As the nation’s first Somali-American state legislator, Ilhan Omar could become a prominent foil to President-elect Donald Trump.

The Democrat was sworn in this week at the Minnesota Capitol. She says she recognizes she can be a beacon of hope for fellow refugees from her community but that her politics also reflect her broader identity as a mother, daughter and American.

Omar and her family fled Somalia when she was just 8, eventually settling in Minnesota after spending years in a Kenyan refugee camp. She defeated a 44-year incumbent in a primary for the House seat.

Omar says her historic election can show her neighbors and other immigrants nationwide that more doors are open for them. She has spoken out against Trump’s call for a wall on the Mexican border.