SOUTH PORTLAND (WGME) – From Somalia to City Hall, an immigrant will hold a seat on South Portland’s City Council.
Deqa Dhalac defeated a local business owner, Donald Cook, by more than 700 votes in the city’s special election for District Five.
“For them to put their trust in me, someone that is not even born and raised in this country, people really want a change,” Dhalac said. “They are ready for change.”
Dhalac defeated her opponent by hundreds of votes after spending countless hours talking to residents and knocking on doors.
She says she was encouraged by other Maine immigrants to make a difference in her city.
Migrating to the U.S. more than two decades ago, Dhalac has emerged as an activist for social justice, joining the Maine Immigrants’ Rights Coalition and leading a community rally when President Trump campaigned here in 2016.
“I was raised in a country that was oppressed by its President. The government would not allow us to do anything,” Dhalac said. “I was very excited about becoming a U.S. citizen and registering to vote because I never experienced that in my country.”
Her daughter, born and raised in America is following in her mother’s footsteps, representing Deering High School on the school board two years in a row.
“I find her as something of an inspiration, showing it is possible to achieve these different goals in the sense of helping the community or paving a way showing that it’s possible it can happen,” Saharla Farah said. “Really from the bottom of my heart I am honored. I will not take this lightly.”