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Second candidate emerges for District 3 school seat

Posted by: Steve Brandt under People and neighborhoods, Politics and government Updated: December 19, 2013 - 5:08 PM

Siad Ali is joining the field of candidates seeking the Minneapolis school board seat to which Mohamud Noor was appointed earlier this month, further fueling speculation that Noor may be setting his political sights on the state legislature.

Ali works in the office of U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, and joins Abdulkadir Dahir Abdalla, who previously said he plans to run for the District 3 seat.  The district stretches from Cedar-Riverside to roughly E. 36th Street between Interstate 35W and the Mississippi River. Ali plans a Saturday announcement.

Noor said two weeks ago that he won't announce until next year whether he'll seek to run for a full four years in the school board seat he was appointed to on Dec.10 to fill a vacancy resulting from the death of Hussein Samatar.. But there are increasing signs that rumors that he may challenge long-serving state Rep. Phyllis Kahn for her seat may prove up.

Noor didn't deny them Thursday but did say that he'll decide this weekend and make an announcement a week later.  He's planning to close on a house that would allow him to pursue either the school or House seat.  Kahn said she's heard the rumors, and noted that a win would force Noor to leave his job as a computer system manager in the state Department of Human Service. Noor said he expects federal Hatch Act rules would require him to leave his state job regardless of what partisan posiiton he seeks

Kahn is seeking her 22nd term in the House, but there's an electoral logic behind Noor's potential bid.  He ran for state Senate in 2011 in a district that encompasses Kahn's House seat, so he's been on the ballot before.  Although Noor lost that special election DFL primary to Kari Dziedzic, he finished second in a crowded field that included better-known politicos.

That was largely on the strength of a heavily concentration of Somali immigrants in Cedar-Riverside.  They first flexed political muscle by helping to power the late Hussein Samatar to the district's school board seat, and last month Abdi Warsame knocked incumbent Robert Lilligren off the City Council.

Siad holds three masters degrees, two from India and one from the University of Minnesota, according to his campaign bio. He formerly worked as a bilingal educational assistant for Minneapolis schools and a state job counselor. He also supported Betsy Hodges for mayor.  His announcement event is planned for Saturday from 3-5 p.m. at Phillips Community Center, 2323 11th Av. S. 

(Photos: Above: Mohamud Noor; Below: Phyllis Kahn)

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