WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan (WI-02) announced today that he will bring Madison Ald. Samba Baldeh as his guest to next week’s State of the Union Address to show solidarity with the American-Muslim community at a time of escalating bigotry and discrimination. Rep. Pocan joins other Members of Congress, including Reps. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL) Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), who invited constituents to show solidarity with the Muslim-American community.
“The anti-Muslim rhetoric by leading political figures in this country is alarming,” said Rep. Pocan. “By bringing Ald. Baldeh to the State of the Union I want to send a message to the Muslim community that this bigotry and fear mongering will not be tolerated. America has always remained a land of opportunity and hope for people of every faith and ethnicity. It is vital to remind ourselves of these core values, especially when politicians try to spread hate in the name of votes.”
“Ald. Baldeh’s community service, through organizations like Big Brothers Big Sisters, and his public service as an alderperson speak volumes about his dedication to improving our city,” continued Rep. Pocan. “I am honored to bring him as my guest to this year’s State of the Union Address.”
“It is my great honor to attend the State of the Union address as the guest of Rep. Mark Pocan,” said Ald. Baldeh. “As a Muslim man and a local elected official, I see firsthand the impact of anti-Muslim political rhetoric and debate on my community. The recent rise in anti-Muslim sentiment around the country is troubling and affects real people’s lives every day. It drives me, as I know it does Rep. Pocan, to be an advocate for those fleeing persecution and to protect the rights and freedoms of our country.”
Madison Ald. Samba Baldeh represents the city’s far northeast side and was elected in 2015. A software engineer and entrepreneur with two businesses, he also has an extensive record of community involvement including volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Dane County, the AIDS Network – and leadership roles in the local Senegambia Association and the African Association. He is also a member of the 100 Black Men of Madison. He is the second Gambian-born elected official in the United States.