Keith Ellison Story - First Muslim To Enter Into The U.S. Congress
Keith Ellison is the US Representative for the 5th Congressional district of Minnesota since 2007. He was first elected in the House in 2006, and was re-elected in 2012. After running uncontested for Democratic nomination in 2014, he re-elected in 2014 after defeating Lee Bauer and Doug Daggett. He is also serving as a Chief Deputy Whip for Democratic caucus in the 113th Congress. Ellison has the record of being the first Muslim to enter the Congress, and also the first African-American to represent the House of Minnesota.
Ellison was born as 3rd out of the 5 sons of Clida Ellison and Leonard Ellison. He, along with three of his brothers, became a lawyer, while the 5th brother studied to become a doctor. During his youth, Ellison saw his family being actively involved in the Civil Rights Movement, and his grandfather also worked as an NAACP member in Louisiana. At the age of 19, he converted to Islam from Catholicism.
After graduation in 1987, Keith moved to Minneapolis for attending the Law School of the University of Minnesota, and started supporting Louis Farrakhan of Nation of Islam through his articles. After completing his law graduation in 1990, he worked at Lindquist & Vennum for three years as a litigator. Then, he joined Legal Rights Center of Minneapolis as the executive director, and then entered private practice with Hassan & Reed Ltd.
Being active in public and community service, Ellison won elections in 2002, was included in the Minnesota House of Representatives, and re-elected in 2004. In 2006, he ran for the US House of Representatives as a Democratic candidate, and became the first Muslim to enter the US Congress. During his tenure, he has supported minimum wages increase, and stem cell research. He also opposed President George W. Bush’s decision to increase the number of troops to be sent during the Iraq War.
Since his early career days, Keith has been involved in public and community service. He hosted the KMOJ radio public affairs talk program without any pay, and also serves as a track coach for a number of organizations for youth of 5 to 18 years of age.
After graduating in 1987, Keith married Kim, his high school sweetheart, who was a high school mathematics teacher. They have 4 children, who are all raised in Muslim faith, although the family does not follow Islam. Kim suffered from moderate multiple sclerosis, which she revealed during Ellison’s campaign in 2006. They filed for separation in 2010, and divorced in 2012.
Keith Ellison is not only a successful politician, but an active community helper too. He is known to be generous, and has worked extensively for promoting peace, bringing prosperity to working families, and making advancements in human and civil rights.