Bravo the Melting Pot! America's First Ethiopian Candidate

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Bravo the Melting Pot! America's First Ethiopian Candidate

Post by Corlyss_D » Mon May 22, 2006 3:27 pm

. . . for Congress. I've known a few Ethiopians and always been impressed by their quiet thoughtfulness, their industry, and their quick grasp of capitalist principles. Damn good looking people too.

He's Taking a Barefoot Path to Congress

If you've ever taken a cab in New York City or Washington, chances are you've been driven by a cab driver from Ethiopia or Eritrea, two nations in the Horn of Africa. Eritrea split off from Ethiopia after a bitter war to become independent in 1993, and both nations have sent many industrious immigrants to America. Now one of them has won the endorsement of the Minnesota Republican Party to become its candidate for Congress against Democratic Rep. Betty McCollum of St. Paul.

Obi Sium, an Eritrean, is a hydraulic engineer who came to this country in 1973 and became a citizen a decade later. He says he's running in part to give back something to his adopted land and also because he believes he has learned some important life lessons about good public policy. "The best way of beating poverty is education. I am living proof of that," he says.

Mr. Sium recalls walking five miles on bare feet to go to school growing up and didn't see his first textbook until he was 13. But he persevered and earned an engineering degree from Haile Selassie University in Addis Ababa. He then earned a master's degree from the University of Iowa and stayed in the U.S. to build a career with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Mr. Sium says he's running to "limit the size of big government" while at the same time ensuring the U.S. maintains a strong military. He says Ms. McCollum, who sports a 94% liberal rating on economic and foreign policy issues from the National Journal, is at the opposite end of the spectrum from him. (Ms. McCollum, a former schoolteacher, has demanded immediate withdrawal from Iraq, calling the war "the worst foreign policy disaster in American history.") It sounds like a wonderful contrast for a campaign, but the advantage will clearly be with the incumbent. Her St. Paul district is chock full of liberal activists and gave John Kerry 62% of the vote in 2004.

Still, Mr. Sium clearly has a potential base to build on, even if it's made up of Asian immigrants rather than African. St. Paul is home to some 30,000 Hmong immigrants from Laos, whose families were recruited by the U.S. during the Vietnam War and resettled here after the Communists triumphed in 1975. Mr. Sium plans to reach out to all the immigrant communities in the district as well as to the 12% of the population that has served in the military. Even if they don't vote for him, few can fail to be inspired by his American success story.

-- John Fund
Contessa d'EM, a carbon-based life form

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Post by Werner » Mon May 22, 2006 3:34 pm

I wish Mr. Sium well, but his opponent's description of the Iraq war as "the worst foreign policy disaster" is hard to argue with - as proof accumulates day by day.
Werner Isler


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