Uncover Anquam Mahamoud, the aspiring legislative candidate prioritizing healthcare access

A vibrant battle for the DFL endorsement played out in south Minneapolis for an open state House seat, with Anquam Mahamoud securing the party’s backing.

This opportunity arose when DFL Representative Hodan Hassan opted not to run again after three terms.

Anquam, 35, serves as the chief operating officer of Twin Cities Health Services, a facility that offers substance abuse treatment and mental health care in Minneapolis. 

While she is relatively new to the political arena, Anquam has gathered a substantial number of endorsements from fellow Democrats, including U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar. She is also supported by Women Winning, a group that recruits and trains pro-choice women for political office.

Anquam may face opposition during the DFL primary in August, as former Minneapolis Park Commissioner Londel French has yet to withdraw his candidacy. The Minnesota GOP did not provide information on their endorsed candidate for District 62B.

In an interview with Sahan Journal, Anquam discussed her upbringing in an immigrant household in south Minneapolis, her vision of universal healthcare in Minnesota, and how aiding marginalized community members can lead to a system that benefits everyone. 

This interview has been condensed for clarity and brevity.

Q: Who is Anquam Mahamoud? Share more about yourself.
A: I go by Anquam Mahamoud, also known as Deeqa. I was born in San Diego but moved to South Side Minneapolis in 1998 with my mother. She made the move for better cost of living and education. A single mother working night shifts to support my three brothers and me, I took on many responsibilities from a young age.

Starting part-time work at 15, I earned $5.15 per hour to help with groceries and school items for my siblings. This situation made me realize the importance of affordable housing for all to promote homeownership and fair wages. No child should sacrifice their youth for financial support.

Emphasizing the value of education for a brighter future, my mother moved us to Eagan for better educational opportunities. This was her way of advocating for us. When I entered college, we returned to south Minneapolis. I completed my psychology degree from St. Catherine.

After graduating in 2012, I struggled to find employment for a year. When I decided to apply at local stores, I received an unexpected call from MNsure. 

Starting at MNsure in the call center, I interacted with residents from greater Minnesota. It exposed me to the challenges people in the Iron Range faced, including difficulties submitting online applications with slow internet. I heard stories of individuals facing risks due to inadequate insurance coverage.

These experiences reinforced my belief in accessible universal health care, ensuring everyone has the care they need. 

Currently in a role at a substance treatment center and mental health facility, I work directly with community members battling addiction or living in encampments. This position has shown me the need for a comprehensive approach to uplift our community by addressing core issues and providing holistic support to those in need.

Q: What motivated you to run for the Minnesota House 62B seat?

A: I decided to run for the MN House 62B seat to make a positive impact in my community. While other opportunities arose before, I focused on advocacy and training with Isaiah. The experience highlighted the challenges we face as a country and the need for authentic representation for meaningful change.

My decision to run comes from confidence in my ability to serve effectively. Experience in implementing the Affordable Care Act prepared me to address community issues. I am dedicated to bringing about the necessary changes for our community.

Q: What issues do you plan to prioritize if elected?

A: Key to my focus is ensuring all community members have access to essential services for their well-being. Universal health care tops my priorities, preventing individuals from choosing between health and finances.

Advocating for equitable education funding and robust teacher support is another priority to ensure quality education for all students, regardless of ZIP code or socioeconomic status.

Economic development in the community will also be a focus, with emphasis on job creation, support for small businesses, and policies promoting workers’ rights and fair wages.

Q: How would you implement universal health care?

A: Health care is a basic right that should not depend on employment or income. I support a single-payer system like the Minnesota Health Plan proposed by DFL Senator John Marty to ensure every resident has access to necessary care without financial hardship.

This system would cover various services from dental care to mental health treatments. High costs lead to residents not affording care, with low-income and marginalized communities most affected. Improved access benefits these populations the most.

Q: How would you address the needs of underserved communities?

A: I recognize that our unhoused neighbors face significant barriers, and more focused funding is needed to address their needs effectively. Through work in mental health and substance abuse treatment, we can break down barriers to housing and health access.

I support funding for culturally specific providers, affordable housing, and shelter accommodations like a Minneapolis tiny indoor village. Collaborating with city and county officials can bring these solutions to our communities safely.

Q: Where would you seek bipartisan cooperation?

A: Climate change demands urgent action, and it is essential to unite across party lines. Collaborating with DFL legislators, we can push for legislation like “Prove It First” to protect our environment and work towards net-zero emissions by 2050.

Clean water and air are shared goals that all Minnesotans support, regardless of party. Focusing on these common issues is crucial for the well-being of future generations.

Correction: Earlier information on Anquam Mahamoud’s age was inaccurate.

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