A 27-year-old Afghan refugee has won the Democratic primary for a seat in the legislature of the U.S. state of New Hampshire, defeating a fellow Democrat who held the seat for four terms.
Safiya Wazir defeated District 17 State Representative Dick Patten, who said during the campaign that Wazir's lack of political experience and background as a refugee would hurt her chances of election.
Wazir won the primary on September 11 after a campaign in which she highlighted her years of community activism and dedication to education and family issues.
She said that record, as well as her efforts to communicate with voters by knocking on doors and sending thank-you notes, among other things, helped her win.
Supporters "were very excited there was someone new running for the State House,” Wazir said.
Wazir's family left Afghanistan in 2007 and she arrived in Concord, the capital of the northeastern state, that same year.
New Hampshire officials say that if Wazir beats Republican Dennis Soucy in the November election, she will be the first refugee to hold public office in the state.