Voice For Refuge Endorses Pro-Refugee Candidates at Local, State, and National levels

September 18, 2020
Marks the first time that endorsements have focused on refugee issues
For Immediate Release
Contact: Mary Elizabeth Margolis, memargolis@voiceforrefuge.org

Washington DCVoice for Refuge Action Fund today released its first round of endorsements, supporting 43 former refugees and pro-refugee candidates running in key 2020 races at local, state, and national levels. This is the first set of endorsements for the new 501(c)4 organization, and the first time any organization has endorsed candidates based on their positions on refugee issues.

“We are proud to stand behind these pro-refugee leaders who will push back against Trump’s bigoted, cruel and narrow-minded agenda and pursue policies to build more welcoming communities across the United States. Over the last 40 years, our nation has provided a safe home for millions of refugees who have become vital members of our communities. It’s past time for their voices to be fully represented in government.” said Voice for Refuge Board Chair Former Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman.

“As the first C4 dedicated to advancing progressive refugee policies and empowering former refugees, today we’ve taken a huge step forward in building their political power. The candidates we are endorsing are committed to improving and protecting the lives of refugees as we fight back against President Trump’s xeno-racist policies. These candidates represent the best of our nation’s values of protecting and providing refuge for our most vulnerable populations. We urge the public to vote for these candidates who are committed to advancing the public good for all Americans,” said Voice for Refuge Political Director Mustafa Jumale.

Today’s endorsements include candidates who are refugees themselves, the children of refugees, and those who are champions for refugee protection. Highlights include: 

  • Bee Nguyen, running for re-election in the Georgia State Legislature, House District 89. Nguyen is the daughter of Vietnamese refugees and a passionate advocate for marginalized groups, especially refugee families.
  • Sahra Odowa, candidate for Minnesota State Senate, District 55. Odowa is the daughter of refugees from Somalia, a mother, and a mental health and public health professional. She serves on the Scott County local advisory council for mental health, is an active parent in the Shakopee school district, and served on the Shakopee Diversity Alliance. 
  • Safiya Wazir, running for re-election in the New Hampshire House of Representatives, District 17. Wazir is a former refugee from Afghanistan and the first refugee to serve in New Hampshire’s state legislature.
  • Alexander Assefa, running for re-election in the Nevada Legislature, District 42. Assefa is a former refugee from Ethiopia who has worked tirelessly to help welcome refugees in Nevada and helped found the Clark County Democratic Party’s Transport and Tourism Workers Caucus.
  • Fatima Dirie, candidate for Utah State Legislature, District 33. Dirie is a former refugee from Somalia who was resettled to Salt Lake City with her family in 1997. She serves as the Policy Advisor for Refugees and New Americans in the Salt Lake City Mayor’s Office, and previously served for four years as the Community Refugee Liaison for Mayor Jackie Biskupski.
  • Qasim Rashid, candidate for U.S. House of Representatives, Virginia District 1. Rashid is an immigrant from Pakistan who has been a strong voice for refugees and pro-refugee policies. He is challenging anti-refugee Republican Rob Wittman.

Voice for Refuge is the first 501(c)4 organization created to advance pro-refugee policies at the national, state, and local level and to hold elected leaders accountable to upholding America’s legacy of welcome. Voice for Refuge is educating the public about the benefits of refugee resettlement, advocating for pro-refugee policies in the U.S. Congress and state legislatures, and increasing civic engagement among refugees through non-partisan voter education. Voice for Refuge also promotes the representation of refugees in government by supporting former refugees and pro-refugee candidates running for office at the national, state, and local level.

For more information or to get involved visit voiceforrefuge.org or contact info@voiceforrefuge.org.


Voice for Refuge Action Fund is a first-of-its-kind 501(c)(4) organization created to stand alongside and elevate refugee voices in the fight for justice and equality.