Founder of the Refugee Dream Center, Dr. Omar Bah is running for Congress alongside several Democrats for Congressional District Two.
“I’m running because I believe in the American Dream [and] because I think I’m a part of the American Dream. I think more than ever before, American democracy is under threat. And I am running to defend it because that’s the only thing I have. I lived under authoritarian rule, I’ve seen what dictatorship and tyranny can do to a population and people,” Bah said in an episode of Ray-ality TV.
“And as a former journalist who was tortured for my work and for what I believed in, I came to value and respect democracy because in this country I was given the chance to a second life. I was given the opportunity for freedom of speech, expression and association. And I think given what we’ve seen under [President] Trump, the threats against democracy by [Vladimir] Putin and January 6th, it is time for folks who are regular Americans, working in the streets everyday, to also have a say [and] to have a voice.”
He said his top priority if elected to Congress is “equitable economic development.” This topic is a factor in his support of President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda.
“I think this will bring in support [for] struggling mothers who need childcare support, well-paying jobs that are sustainable. [And] also to help with public education and defend social security for our elderly and veterans. I think this is a broad issue that will address issues that the regular American needs in order for us to really move forward in our economic advancement as a nation,” Bah said.
The current Congressman of the district, Jim Langevin served in Congress for 11 terms. Langevin and many other members of Congress making a career out of being in elected office creates calls for term limits by some. Bah supports the idea of term limits “100 percent.”
The issue of immigration is a multi-layered issue and another top priority Bah hopes to focus on in Congress. He explained a couple of key ideas in regard to immigration reform.
“There should be comprehensive immigration reform. Focusing primarily on people who are already here and see how we can give them a path to stay in a regularized form, and potentially citizenship. And then work very hard to prevent the fall of regimes, prevent dictatorship in different parts of the world,” says Bah. “Whether we accept it or not, we are democracy police across the world. And also preventing climate change. We take the lead in investing in clean and renewable energy so that [we] can promote and encourage other nations to follow suit.
The winner of the election in the district will have to cast a vote for the Democratic caucus’ leadership in January 2023. Initially, Bah stressed the importance of his party retaining the House and that he would vote for a Democrat.
After being asked if he would support Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi if she seeks House Minority Leader or Speaker, he said, “I think Pelosi is a great leader, of course. You can’t agree on everything, but as long as it stays with the Democratic party rather than a Republican, I’m willing to work with them.”
Additionally, Bah and I spoke about non-political topics such as what he thinks Rhode Island is best known for.