Afghan refugee wins New Hampshire statehouse primary

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A 27-year-old Afghan refugee has ousted a four-term incumbent in the Democratic primary for a seat in the New Hampshire legislature.

The Concord Monitor reports that Safiya Wazir beat District 17 State Rep. Dick Patten, who argued her refugee background would hurt her campaign. But Wazir pulled out Tuesday’s primary victory by highlighting her years of community activism and dedication to education and family issues.

If Wazir beats Republican Dennis Soucy in November, she’d become the first refugee in the state to hold public office, according to Secretary of State Bill Gardner. Wazir’s family fled Afghanistan in 2007 as the Taliban consolidated power. She arrived in Concord that same year.

Wazir says she would focus on Medicaid expansion and enacting paid family leave in New Hampshire.

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