Week In Washington, New Documentary Captures Journey Of First Somali-American, Muslim Woman To Hold State Office, The State Of Wisconsin’s Tourism Economy

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In this Jan. 3, 2017 photo, a hand reaches out to welcome new State Rep. Ilhan Omar as the 2017 Legislature convened in St. Paul, Minn. Omar is the first Somali-American to be elected to a state legislature in the U.S. Ilhan’s four-year-old daughter looks on, right. AP Photo/Jim Mone

We talk to the filmmaker of “Time For Illhan“, a new documentary that chronicles the journey of Somali-American, Muslim woman Ilhan Omar to her win as State Representative in Minnesota’s Senate District 60B. We also take a look at Wisconsin’s thriving tourism industry and discuss this week’s top stories in national news.

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  • This Week In Washington – May 9, 2018

    President Trump has proposed a rescission package that could reverse $15 billion in funding from the omnibus spending bill. One of the biggest cuts could be to the Children’s Health Insurance Program. We talk to a political reporter about the reaction to the plan, as well as last night’s primary election results from around the country, and judicial pushback to charges brought by special counsel Robert Mueller.

  • 'Time For Ilhan' Documents Minnesota Lawmaker's Historic Campaign

    When Ilhan Omar immigrated to Minnesota from a Kenyan refugee camp as a young girl in 1995, she only knew three words in English: “hello,” “shut” and “up.”

    She’s come a long way since then.

    In 2016, Omar became the first Somali-American Muslim legislator elected to office in the United States when she was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives at age 34.

    Now, she’s the subject of a new documentary, “Time for Ilhan,” which tells the story of her run for office and the passionate following she inspired.

    Most people who run for office in the United States are white men.

    Omar ran in her Minnesota primary against Phyllis Kahn, a woman who had represented the district since 1973.

    Omar was an outsider in every way.

    Norah Shapiro, the Minneapolis-based director of the film, met and began following Omar at the very beginning of her campaign back in 2015.

    She says Omar used those things that made her an outsider, that some people might look at as barriers, and turned them into assets on the campaign trail.

    “I think there’s a really strong and resonating message there, and that’s a message that you’re seeing born out across the country,” Shapiro said. “People are talking about a wave of women running for office. A wave of black women running for office. A wave of other nontraditional or ‘outsider’ candidates. The reality is, we have a much stronger democracy when it’s a democracy that truly is representative, and people are hungry for that.”

    Because of that approach, Shapiro said, Omar was able to tap into voter bases that hadn’t been politically engaged in the past.

    “What I was seeing was an unbelievable groundswell in enthusiasm of young people coming out to get involved in her campaign,” Shapiro said. “And for a campaign that was being run differently. And it was young people, people of color, other new Americans.”

    “Time for Ilhan” premiered last month at the Tribeca Film Festival, and is beginning a festival circuit. But Shapiro hopes the film goes much further than just being a film.

    Her goal is to screen it across the country, at colleges, universities, and grassroots organizations, with the hope of inspiring people to run for office or just become politically involved in some way, shape or form.

    “To get more people to think of themselves as being in the game,” Shapiro said. “And getting a seat at the table.”

  • 'Time For Ilhan' Tells Story Of First Somali-American Lawmaker

    The new documentary “Time for Ilhan” documents the rise of Ilahn Omar, elected to serve Minnesota House District 60B. We talk to the film’s director about Omar’s story, and the historic nature of her election.

  • Wisconsin's Tourism Industry Is Doing Well

    It’s National Travel and Tourism Week, and Wisconsin’s tourism industry has seen steady growth in recent years, with more than 23,000 jobs added since 2011. We talk with Tourism Secretary Stephanie Klett about what factors have led to that success, and some of her favorite recommendations for visitors and state residents alike.

Episode Credits

  • Rob Ferrett Host
  • Dean Knetter Producer
  • Rachael Vasquez Producer
  • Judith Siers-Poisson Producer
  • Bill Martens Producer
  • Daniel Newhauser Guest
  • Norah Shapiro Guest
  • Stephanie Klett Guest

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