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Rep. Ako Abdul-Samad to retire

Rep Ako Abdul-Samad represented Drake’s district in the Iowa House for 18 years and is the founder of nonprofit organization Creative Vision. Photo courtesy of the Iowa Legislature

Des Moines native Ako Abdul-Samad (D), an Iowa Representative for District 34t, which includes Drake University’s campus, is delegating his duties as a member of the House of Representatives after 18 years of service.

Abdul-Samad’s term will end at the end of the year. Although Abdul-Samad is retiring from office, he plans to keep active in his retirement, including taking classes at Drake University and, according to the Des Moines Register, writing a memoir. 

“I plan to continue developing my workshops called ‘FromPain2Power’ teaching individuals to transform their pain into power using 10 steps. Also, as a community activist, I aim to continue providing resources to individuals in the community and working on increasing voter turnout,” Abdul-Samad said. 

Abdul-Samad, the founder and CEO of nonprofit organization Creative Visions, has reached a new milestone. 

“My first plan is to take a vacation. I’ve never had a real one before,” Abdul-Samad said via email. “Then, I’ll write my memoir and continue developing my workshops.”

With a current election set to take place, Jolene Flener, a clerk for Abdul-Samad, sent an email to enlighten supporters on Abdul-Samad’s future goals. 

“Ako is someone who has fought for justice and equality for nearly 60 years,” Flener said via email. “He’s an individual who believes in fighting for human and civil rights, which he will continue to do.”

Abdul-Samad has advocated for a more inclusive, equitable and non-discriminatory society for the state of Iowa since joining the Iowa House of Representatives in 2007. 

“I spoke at rallies addressing racial issues at Drake University, and I have always been involved with working alongside the students,” Abdul-Samad said. 

He continues to work on improving the lives of others by providing reliable resources that’ll help create equity. 

“I’ve been active with Drake University, being in the district for several decades, working with the Black Student Union and alumni,” Abdul-Samad said. 

While speaking at Drake during the Conference for Young Men of Color in September, some of the topics of discussion revolved around the advancement of education and developing a better future and society for all. 

“I’ll work with a coalition I’m naming the Sankofa Coalition, which will focus on voter engagement and supporting individuals running for office to ensure everyone has a voice,” Abdul-Samad said during the conference. 

Abdul-Samad’s leadership in  District 34 has led him to believe it is time to pass the helm to a younger generation of leaders. As he planned his exit gracefully, he chose to do so at a moment when he can still assist his successor. 

“I feel that, after 18 years in the house, it’s now time to prepare for someone younger to take the helm,” Abdul-Samad said. “I want to do this while I’m still able to aid and assist individuals, so my position is to always light the torch for the next generation.


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