Onward in 2023 with our fight for a more just world

By Ilhan Omar
Published Sun, Jan 1, 2023 2:21 PM

As we close out 2022, I want to take a moment to reflect on some of what we have accomplished for the Fifth District in the past term.

From the start of his presidency, many political insiders doubted President Joe Biden, the Democratic Party, and what we would be able to achieve in the first two years of his term. We were able to defy the odds and deliver transformative legislation that will provide meaningful change for Minnesotans across the Fifth District. I always say, you get what you organize for. And together, we organized, mobilized and delivered for Minnesotans and the American people.




Ilhan Omar, Congresswoman

One of the most consequential pieces of legislation that Biden signed into law was the Inflation Reduction Act. With the climate crisis wreaking havoc on our communities, this was the largest climate bill ever, which will reduce carbon emissions by 40% by 2030. The package also lowers the price of prescription drugs and makes health care more affordable for families and seniors — dramatically lowering out-of-pocket expenses for Medicare recipients and capping their monthly insulin costs at $35.

On top of that, it will drive over $6.6 billion of investment into Minnesota over the next decade. Every year for 10 years, our state will see an estimated 10,000 jobs added, $511 million in employee compensation, and nearly $1 billion in value added to the state economy.

One of the most rewarding parts about serving our community in Washington has been securing $17 million in federal funding for community projects across our district. This funding directly invests in communities that were hit the hardest by both the pandemic and social unrest, addressing joblessness, housing and food insecurity, access to health care and climate resiliency.

Another monumental accomplishment was the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which will invest in desperately needed mental health support, violence prevention and intervention, and services for victims of gun violence. As the whip of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, I was able to negotiate major improvements to this bill to ensure funding was targeted to police departments with fewer than 125 officers, and to increase funding for training, accountability, and data collection. The House also passed the most significant gun safety legislation in over 30 years.

As inflation continues and food prices keep increasing, more Minnesota families are worrying about where their next meal will come from. At the start of the pandemic, our office wrote and passed the MEALS Act that provided nearly 30 million children with school meals. Now, this lifesaving program has been dramatically reduced. It's imperative that we collaborate on the local, state and federal level to feed our children.

I am thrilled Gov. Tim Walz just announced he will push for universal school meals next year. On the federal level, I partnered with Sen. Tina Smith to reintroduce the No Shame at School Act on the federal level to prohibit schools from shaming children who are unable to pay for their meals. I also championed the Universal School Meals Program Act with Sen. Bernie Sanders to provide free meals to all our students. Eradicating child hunger will continue to be one of my top priorities.

In the face of an assault on reproductive rights by the far-right Supreme Court, the House passed legislation to codify Roe v. Wade into law. Controlling decisions about your own body is a basic human right. I won't stop fighting to protect reproductive freedom.

Far too many young people are delaying major milestones such as homeownership, opening a business, getting married and starting a family because of student loan debt. The Biden administration's executive order to cancel up to $20,000 in student debt will benefit over 730,000 Minnesotans. As one of the lone voices in this fight to cancel student debt just a few years ago, I am thrilled that this issue has been a top priority for this administration. Although Republicans are fighting to block critical relief, I remain hopeful that student debt cancellation will withstand legal scrutiny at the Supreme Court next year.

All this progress happened because of you. Co-governance is at the center of our work every day. Your feedback has guided my work in Washington. I will strive to represent every individual of our district, regardless of who they love, how they pray, the color of their skin or their political views. This congressional seat will always belong to the people of the Fifth District. Together, we hosted 70 town halls and roundtables, passed eight bills and amendments into law, and secured millions of dollars for our district.

We have leaned into our values and did not shy away from hard fights. As we start a new chapter with Republicans taking control of the House, we will need to be clear-eyed and organized in the term ahead. We will need to lead with progressive, people-first values at the forefront.

Our work for a more equitable and just world continues. Onward!

Writer: She is a Democrat, represents Minnesota's Fifth Congressional District in the U.S. House.

The viewpoints expressed by the authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions, viewpoints and editorial policies of Muslim News Network.