Liberian Immigrant Makes History by Winning City Council Seat

Yakasah Weheyee

By Wynfred Russell

He is a former refugee, a Liberian immigrant, and now the youngest city councilmember in Falcon Heights, a suburban city of St. Paul, best known as the site of the State Fair.

Yakasah Wehyee, 28, defeated two other challengers during last week’s midterm elections to win a seat on the city council. He officially takes office in January 2020, becoming the fourth elected public official of Liberian descent serving in the United States.

“I am thrilled to have been elected to the Falcon Heights city council where I look forward to addressing the challenges facing our community,” Wehyee told the Daily Observer. “Among these are the need to enhance the relationship between our public officials and the broader community, investing in our public infrastructural needs and providing affordable housing options for our less fortunate residents.”

Wehyee, a Ph.D. candidate in political science at the University of Minnesota is from Yoelay, a small village in the east-central highlands (Boe & Quilla District) of Nimba County. He emigrated to the US with his parents when he was six years old, after spending some time at a refugee camp in Danane, Ivory Coast.

Growing up in North Minneapolis, a politically active and progressive area of the Twin Cities, Councilmember-elect Wehyee honed his political and community organizing skills by attending rallies and organizing events that promote equality. Upon graduating from Saint Francis high school, he went to Hamline University where he completed his undergraduate studies in political science. There, he won the prestigious Gilder Lehrman Award in American History and led his university to the Model United Nations conference.

“Leadership to me is about bringing people with diverse views together for a common purpose and inspiring them to realize a shared purpose,” Wehyee said. Adding, “It is not about being the loudest or the smartest, but about having the ability to listen and make decisions in the interest of one’s community. It’s about being able to disagree without being disagreeable.”

Wehyee and his wife are proud parents of a beautiful dog – Prince Charles Cavalier – they called Kaira and a black cat named Mufasah.


  1. Dear Webmaster Admin,

    Is this what you wrote, or a mistake?

    “Wehyee and his wife are proud parents of a beautiful dog – Prince Charles Cavalier – they called Kaira and a black cat named Mufasah.”

    Please let me know if there is no mistake in here.

      • Dear Wynfred,

        Thank you for your clarification.
        Our Webmaster Admin should therefore be careful with the choice of words to be used.
        Two human beings cannot be “proud parents” of 2 two animals.
        They can own them, unless the word is being used figuratively, or if there is something else we don’t know which may be against nature.

  2. Yakasah Weyhee deserves to be congratulated for winning a hard fought race in his state of Minnesota. It is hoped that Weyhee will perform the duties of his job professionally. The election of a Liberian-born immigrant to a political office proves unequivocally how great the US is. Unfortunately, some immigrants come to the US (including some I know from Liberia) and introduce themselves as mopes. For the most part, an immigrant who plays by the rules usually makes progress. Weyhee was in the right place at the right time. Bravo!

    Weyhee is not the only Liberian immigrant who has been elected to a political office. There’s a Liberian-born immigrant in Montana who’s running to become a United States senator. There are Liberians in other states who’ve entered politics.

    Most of what has been said about Weyhee is worthy of news. The Daily Observer newspaper tries its best to keep the Liberian public as well as Liberians and others in the diaspora informed about current issues. That’s good. However, news about Weyhee’s cats and dogs shamefully shows the downside of the author.

    Mr. Petarus Dolo wonders whether “there is no mistake in here”. Dolo’s concern is shared by many of us. Weyhee’s dog and cat news is uninteresting and most unnecessary.

  3. Mr.Dolo’s question is simple: is this an error? I don’t have the answer. It is not uncommon for people with or without children to list their pets as part of their family.

  4. To our friends who may not be aware, it’s common for people in the western world to list dogs and cats as member of their families. This is a cultural thing. I know most people, who are not familiar with this culture may take issue with the author, but he’s not wrong in his characterization.

  5. Hey I think Yakasah Wehyee deserves to be recognized in the headline of this article by his actual name. He’s much more than an Liberian immigrant. He’s inspirational, and an leader.

  6. Wanpue, Pearce and Biah:
    I do understand what you are saying about the news of Weyhee’s dogs and cats. We all congratulate the young guy. We’re proud of him. But listen, the young guy is alive. Right? One usually hears about the survivors of a dead person. To talk about cats and dogs as a happy family is a little strange.
    I could be wrong. I was wrong before.


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