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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Farhan Sheikh-Omar got to Lansing by chance. Violence pushed Sheikh-Omar’s family out of Somalia and to the United States, and a lottery system brought him to Michigan’s capital city.

“My family and I came here in 2005 as refugees and ever since I came here I’ve always enjoyed giving back and helping others,” Sheikh-Omar said.

At 26-years-old, Sheikh-Omar said he’s a community activist and not a politician, and believes his time to be mayor is now.

“Lansing desperately needs strong leadership. In 2020, our city saw a record number of homicides with 22 citizens killed. This year we’ve had 18 people killed,” Sheikh-Omar said.

Violence is at the top of the list of priorities for Shiekh-Omar. His other top priorities?

“Homelessness is one of them. Gun violence is another, also transparency, honesty and trust,” Sheikh-Omar said.

One of the staples of Sheikh-Omar’s approach is door-to-door campaigning.

“I want to hear from the community, I want to hear what the issues are. I believe as an elected official they deserve to hear from me and see me out here. I need to be accessible.” Sheikh-Omar said.

Sheikh-Omar feels that between his age and his life experiences, he’s different than many of the other candidates in the mayoral race, and he believes 2021 will be the year Lansing chooses something different.

“We’ve never had a black mayor in this city. We have an opportunity to make history. Not only to elect the first black mayor, but to elect the first Muslim mayor, the first Somali-American mayor, and I believe Lansing will do that,” Sheikh-Omar said.

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