Durham commissioner, first Muslim woman to hold office in NC announces run for Congress

Durham County News

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — A Durham County Commissioner who was North Carolina’s first Muslim woman ever elected to any public office announced on Monday that she’s running for Congress.

Nida Allam was elected to the Durham County Board of Commissioners in 2020 and became the first Muslim woman to serve in public office in the state when she was sworn in last December. Allam made history not only for that but also because she was a part of an all-female board of county commissioners, the first time that happened in the 139-year history of the board.

CBS 17 spoke with Allam after she finished in the top five of the primary in March 2020.

“I think it’s really amazing, and it goes to show how progressive Durham really is and how much they care about the voices of people being heard,” said Allam at the time.

Allam said she was first inspired to get involved in politics after the murders of her three friends in Chapel Hill. Deah Barakat, Yusor Abu-Salha and Razan Abu-Salha were shot and killed in 2015 while Allam was a student at North Carolina State University.

“Realizing that I’ve experienced this pain and this trauma. Our entire community has. But, I still carry a great amount of privilege, and being able to find a balance of how can I use that privilege to actually support different communities who haven’t had their voices heard,” said Allam after her top-five finish. “It’s not gonna hold us back. We’re gonna take that tragedy and look at the bright side. We’re gonna look at the love that Deah, Yusor and Razan carried through their lives and the love that we’ve seen, an outpouring love after they passed, and continue to carry that forward.”

Allam released a campaign video on Twitter at 6 a.m. Monday and cited the hate crime murders of her friends as the event that put her on the path to public service.

In her tweet, Allam said she’s “running for Congress to carry on their legacy” and to fight “for economic and racial justice — and a brighter future for NC-06.”

Allam is running on a platform supporting Medicare for All, the Green New Deal and more affordable housing amid a surge in housing prices in the Triangle.

In her campaign ad, Allam says that she’s “running for Congress because progress can’t wait.”

Democratic Rep. David Price, 81, currently represents the 6th District in Congress but he announced several weeks ago that he’s retiring at the end of his current term. Price was first elected to Congress in 1987. The district is considered safely Democratic.

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