SALEM, Ore. – History has been made in the Oregon Legislature.

Kayse Jama has been appointed to replace new Secretary of State Shemia Fagan as District 24’s State Senator.

He’s the first Muslim and former refugee to hold the office.

Here’s more on Wednesday’s landmark appointment:

PORTLAND — Kayse Jama today was appointed to represent Oregon State Senate District 24. Senator Jama will fill the remainder of the term left after Shemia Fagan resigned to become Oregon Secretary of State.

“The magnitude of this moment is not lost on me,” said Kayse Jama. “My journey from a nomadic community in Somalia to the Oregon Senate is a testament to where I come from, the people of our district, and our shared values. I’d like to thank everyone who helped make today possible and express my appreciation to the other leaders who sought this position. My work over the last two decades and in this campaign has always been about collaboration, working together, and community. That commitment will only strengthen when I serve in the Senate. We must hit the ground running, and I will do my best to represent the needs of our diverse district in the upcoming legislative session and beyond.”

The Multnomah County and Clackamas County Boards of Commissioners appointed Jama from a list of candidates recommended by the Democratic Party of Oregon Precinct Committee Persons (PCPs) for the District. Kayse received over 64% of votes from PCPs in a 4-way race and a unanimous vote of the County Commissioners.

Through his advocacy, Kayse guided the passage of groundbreaking legislation and measures, including Oregon’s End Profiling Act, Measure 110 (More Treatment for a Better Oregon) and Measure 107 (Campaign Finance Reform). He has also co-founded several large cross-issue coalitions, including Oregon Fair Shot Coalition and Oregon Health Equity Alliance. Kayse is co-founder and Executive Director of Unite Oregon and a member of Governor Brown’s Racial Justice Council. Senator Jama lives in the Hazelwood neighborhood of East Portland with his twin 10-year-olds and wife of 16 years, Stephanie D. Stephens, who serves on the David Douglas School Board. For more information, please visit

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