Congress bound, Minnesota's Ilhan Omar enjoys another first

Democrat Ilhan Omar is interviewed by The Associated Press Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018, in Minneapolis after winning Minnesota's 5th Congressional District race in Tuesday's election. She will be the first Somali American to serve in Congress and one of the first two Muslim women to serve in Congress. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Fresh off of becoming the first Somali-American elected to Congress, Ilhan Omar said Wednesday that she's still enjoying being known for her firsts.

In 2016 the one-time refugee became the first Somali-American elected to a state legislature in the U.S. when she won a seat in the Minnesota House from Minneapolis, which has a large Somali community. Her victory Tuesday in Minnesota's 5th District also makes her one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress, along with Democrat Rashida Tlaib, who won a Detroit-area seat.

"It's wonderful. It is a great opportunity. But really I am not going from a first to another first," Omar said in an interview with The Associated Press. "I'm going from the state House to the opportunity to serve in Congress, and serve the people in the Fifth, which is a great honor and a great opportunity. ... It is something that is exciting to a few people, but, you know, often times it is important for us to own the moment, celebrate it, and then move on."

Omar said she's looking forward to going to Washington "to join a very diverse, bold progressive caucus" and work to expand funding for infrastructure projects, expanding the availability of health care and strengthening education.

And she said she plans "to hold this administration accountable and be a true check and balance." While she said there will be opportunities for Democrats to find compromise with President Donald Trump on some issues, such as infrastructure, she added, "there is a real opportunity for us to make that sure that we have a Congress that does its job."

Democrat Ilhan Omar holds up a newspaper after she was interviewed by The Associated Press Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018, in Minneapolis after winning Minnesota's 5th Congressional District race in Tuesday's election. She will be the first Somali American to serve in Congress and one of the first two Muslim women to serve in Congress. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)Democrat Ilhan Omar is interviewed by The Associated Press Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018, in Minneapolis after winning Minnesota's 5th Congressional District race in Tuesday's election. She will be the first Somali American to serve in Congress and one of the first two Muslim women to serve in Congress. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)Democrat Ilhan Omar speaks after winning in Minnesota's 5th Congressional District race during the election night event held by the Democratic Party Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in St. Paul, Minn. Omar became the first Somali-American — and one of the first two Muslim women — elected to Congress. Omar faced Republican Jennifer Zielinski in the Minneapolis-area district. (AP Photo/Hannah Foslien)Democrat Ilhan Omar speaks after winning in Minnesota's 5th Congressional District race during the election night event held by the Democratic Party Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in St. Paul, Minn. (AP Photo/Hannah Foslien)Ilhan Omar poses for a selfies with supporters after her victory Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in Minneapolis. Omar is poised to become the first Somali-American elected to Congress, representing Minnesota's Fifth District. (Mark Vancleave /Star Tribune via AP)Ilhan Omar delivers her victory speech to supporters in a packed ballroom Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in Minneapolis. Omar is poised to become the first Somali-American elected to Congress, representing Minnesota's Fifth District. (Mark Vancleave /Star Tribune via AP)Ilhan Omar poses for a selfies with supporters after her victory Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in Minneapolis. Omar is poised to become the first Somali-American elected to Congress, representing Minnesota's Fifth District. (Mark Vancleave /Star Tribune via AP)Asma Mohammed and Ashley Fairbanks celebrate as results come in at Democratic congressional candidate Ilhan Omar's election night headquarters in Minneapolis on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018. State Rep. Ilhan Omar has won Minnesota's 5th District race to become the first Somali-American and one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress. (Mark Vancleave/Star Tribune via AP)A team from Middle East network Al Arab broadcasts from the ballroom at Democratic congressional candidate Ilhan Omar's election night headquarters in Minneapolis on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018. State Rep. Ilhan Omar has won Minnesota's 5th District race to become the first Somali-American and one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress. (Mark Vancleave/Star Tribune via AP)Hibo Omar, Muhubo Shire and Kin Kyani watch results at Democratic congressional candidate Ilhan Omar's election night headquarters in Minneapolis on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018. State Rep. Ilhan Omar has won Minnesota's 5th District race to become the first Somali-American and one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress. (Mark Vancleave/Star Tribune via AP)

While Nancy Pelosi is positioned to return to the speaker's office after Democrats took back the House, Omar, like many Democratic candidates, has been publicly reticent about committing to support Pelosi. She said she admires Pelosi for her "wonderful work ethic" and looks forward to conversations within the Democratic caucus about electing a leader "that will help us implement the bold, progressive policies that we ran on. ... I will see who that turns out to be."

Omar will succeed Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, who was elected as Minnesota's next attorney general on Tuesday. Like Ellison, she said, she will probably use a Quran for her ceremonial swearing in.