Safiya Wazir

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Safiya Wazir
Safiya Wazir (49119269071).jpg
Member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives
from the Merrimack 17th district
In office
December 6, 2018 – December 7, 2022
Preceded byDick Patten
Succeeded byJames Roesener
Personal details
Born1991 (age 31–32)
Political partyDemocratic

Safiya Wazir (Dari: صفية وزیر; born 1991[1]) is an Afghan-American community activist and politician. She served as a Democratic member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives. Wazir is the first former refugee to serve in the New Hampshire State House.

Early life and education[edit]

Wazir and her family lived in Baghlan Province in Afghanistan prior to Taliban rule.[1] Her family left during her childhood, and they spent ten years in Uzbekistan before immigrating to Concord, New Hampshire.[2] She knew little English upon her arrival and studied the dictionary to learn.[2] Her family was unable to communicate in English shortly after their arrival but received assistance from a Lutheran organization and often ate only rice.[1]

She was forced to restart her secondary school education and thus graduated from high school at age 20. She enrolled in the New Hampshire Technical Institute, where she took night classes so she could support her family.[1] She graduated from the community college with a degree in business.[2]

Upon her parents' insistence, she returned to Afghanistan for an arranged marriage, and together with her spouse she returned to Concord.[3]


Wazir began working within the Heights community of Concord; becoming a director of its Community Action Program and a vice-chairwoman of its Head Start Policy Council.[4] In February 2018, Wazir's friend suggested that she run for office, although Wazir refused the request until her partner and parents agreed to support her children.[5] In September 2018, she beat Dick Patten to win the Democratic primary for a seat in the legislature of New Hampshire.[6] Shortly thereafter, Wazir became the first refugee to be elected to New Hampshire's state house.[7]

The BBC listed Wazir on their list of 100 Women in 2018.[8]

Electoral record[edit]

NH House District 17 - Merrimack general election, 2020[9]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Safiya Wazir (incumbent) 1,209 54.3
Republican Dennis Soucy 1,016 45.7
Total votes 2,225 100.0
Democratic hold


  1. ^ a b c d Wood, Josh (October 2, 2018). "Safiya Wazir: the former refugee vying for a New Hampshire state house seat". The Guardian. Retrieved October 25, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c McLaughlin, Kelly (November 7, 2019). "An Afghan refugee who fled the Taliban was voted into New Hampshire's House of Representatives". Business Insider. Retrieved October 24, 2019.
  3. ^ Shenoy, Rupa (November 3, 2018). "A former refugee could win a seat in one of the whitest statehouses in America". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved October 25, 2019.
  4. ^ Andrews, Caitlin (November 6, 2018). "Concord makes history electing former refugee Wazir to N.H. State House". Concord Monitor. Retrieved October 25, 2019.
  5. ^ Emison, Linnea (November 1, 2018). "Safiya Wazir Was a Refugee, Now She's a State House Candidate". Rolling Stone. Retrieved October 25, 2019.
  6. ^ "Afghan Refugee, 27, Wins Primary Election for Seat in New Hampshire State Legislature". September 12, 2018. Retrieved October 25, 2019.
  7. ^ Axelrod, Jim (November 7, 2018). "2 former refugees make history with midterm victories". CBS. Retrieved October 25, 2019.
  8. ^ "BBC 100 Women 2018: Who is on the list?". BBC News. November 19, 2018. Retrieved October 25, 2019.
  9. ^ "New Hampshire Election Results – Merrimack 17 General election". WMUR, Associated Press. November 3, 2020. Retrieved November 19, 2020.