School board member Hussein Samatar, a pathbreaking political figure in Minneapolis and beyond, announced Wednesday that he’s fighting a form of leukemia.
Samatar said he was diagnosed in early December with chronic lymphocytic leukemia, has been through three cycles of chemotherapy and is responding well to treatment. He took pride in not missing any board meetings during his treatment.
“I have every intention of being here a long time,” Samatar posted “As you know, I am civil-war survivor. There are days that I feel great and there are days that I feel terrible. But in the end I am determined to defeat this disease and I have worked hard to maintain a normal schedule…”
Samatar became the state’s first Somali public official in 2005, when Mayor. R.T. Rybak appointed him to the Library Board. He followed that up with a 2010 win in the most Somali-populated school board district in the city. That made him the state’s first Somali elected official.
He was considering a bid for mayor, but passed the mid-January date he had set for making a decision without announcing his candidacy. He will now go through a bone marrow transplant.