Esther Agbaje

By Taiwo Okanlawon

A 35-year-old Nigerian Esther Agbaje has been elected into the Minnesota House of Representatives in Tuesday’s US general elections.

Agbaje will represent District 59B in the 134-member House on the platform of the US Democratic Party.

The Nigerian polled 17,396 votes or 74.7 per cent of the total ballots cast.

She defeated her closest rival Alan Shilepsky of the Republican Party who pulled 4,128 votes, representing 17.7 per cent of the total.

Elections to the lower chamber of the state legislature hold every two years, and there are no term limits for the lawmakers.

The daughter of Nigerian immigrants, Agbaje was born in St. Paul, the state capital of Minnesota.

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Her father Rev. John, an Episcopal Church priest, met her mother Bunmi, a librarian at the University of Minnesota where they were studying.

Agbaje graduated from George Washington University, Washington, D.C. with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science.

She holds a master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Pennsylvania, and also a law degree from Harvard University.

She currently works as an attorney in Minneapolis with focus on general civil litigation and medical malpractice.

She once served at the US Department of State as a foreign affairs officer, charged with managing rule of law projects in the Middle East.

Her priorities as a lawmaker include affordable housing, environmental justice, police reform, public safety and racial equality.

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“As a negotiator, as a lawyer, and as a former program manager, I know how to advocate for the district and find common ground with other legislators in St. Paul. I look forward to hearing from you about your ideas for the district and for Minnesota,” Agbaje was quoted on her campaign website.