Most 21 year olds aren’t spending their free time developing policies and ordinances, deciding on local tax rates for businesses, identifying local issues, balancing budgets or setting pay rates for county employees.
But 21-year-old Jasmine Ali-Mohammed wants to be the exception. The FSU senior is running for Leon County Commission District 1, where she will try to unseat longtime member Bill Proctor.
Ali-Mohammed, who grew up in the Lake County town Eustis, knew at age 17 that she wanted to run for commissioner. She decided to run this particular year because she believes it was time that young people get engaged in what is going on around them.
“For me this is a win regardless, because I feel like if anything I am teaching young people how to be equipped with the knowledge and resources to make an educated vote not only now but for the rest of their lives,” said Ali-Mohammed.
Ali-Mohammed comes from a family of immigrants and inherited her work ethic from her single mom. In the beginning her family did not know or understand what she was doing and wanted her to focus on school. But when they realized what she was doing was something good and she had the city behind her, they began to support and stand behind her.
Ali-Mohammed is the daughter of a war refugee from Nigeria. Her grandmother had a sixth-grade education and two kids. During the Nigerian war when the city they lived in was captured, her grandmother snuck onto a plane with her two daughters and came to America with nothing but the clothes they were wearing.
“I am the first in my family to go for this kind of thing,” said Ali-Mohammed. “To my family this is a big American dream and I am proud that I could be the first to show my family that following your dreams and passions can lead you to great places.”
Ali-Mohammed does a lot of community service. She is involved in the NAACP and the League of Women Voters, where she gets a lot of exposure to the community. She also gives thanks to state Rep. Ramon Alexander, who held a millennial boot camp with the Florida legislative black caucus. She truly believes she could not be where she is today or know all she knows now if she did not attend that program.
“The qualities that make Ms. Ali admirable in this race especially is her progressiveness and sense of self,” said Nastassia Janvier, FSU NAACP president. “Ms. Ali is a true representation of what Frenchtown is and looks like. Since Jasmine has stepped foot in Tallahassee she has pushed for the advancement of minority communities in Leon County.”
Ali-Mohammed interned with 23-year-old Jewell Jones, who is known for breaking records. Jones was the youngest elected City Council member at age 20 and the youngest member elected to the Michigan House of Representatives at age 21.
Jones is one of Ali-Mohammed’s biggest inspirations and supporters. After Jones told her she was all bark and no bite, Ali-Mohammed found herself in the Supervisor of Elections office turning in her paperwork required to run.
“I believe Jasmine brings new ideas and a new voice to the commission,” said Jones. “Sustainment and succession planning is key to the continued growth of any community, and I believe Jasmine can begin to lay that foundation.”