Local Somali Community Raises Concerns in a Listening Session

(ABC 6  News) — The race for governor is still a year away, but listening sessions have already started. The Somali community in Rochester gathered Saturday to speak with Rebecca Otto.

“Rather than talking at people and telling them my ideas, I want to hear from Minnesotans around the state to know they’re hopes and dreams for our future as a state,” Otto said.


Otto will run for governor in 2018, and she’s started a listening tour. She has traveled all over Minnesota to listen to different communities about what they want changed or what they find important in a representative, and how their voices can be heard.

“Rochester is not even small so we have a large number of Somalis that are eligible to vote and we are participating and looking forward to electing the best person,” Abdi Roble said.

Roble hopes more politicians will follow in Otto’s footsteps and start discussions within their communities. Sofia Alston brought up her issues with a lack of Somali authority figures in her school. She’s happy to have the opportunity to invite politicians to Rochester to get them thinking outside the box.

“It’s good to have that exposure with people that are trying to run for office, for our community, so we can feel that our voices are being heard and that they’re being supported,” Alston said.

Otto is looking to continue traveling and booking more discussions like the one in Rochester through March.

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