Attorney Sarah Gad focused on criminal justice reform in run for 5th District seat

Sarah Gad District 5 campaign

Sarah Gad District 5 campaign

When Sarah Gad was in medical school, she got into a car crash. A doctor prescribed her opioids for the pain.

“Never thought I could be addicted to them,” she said in an interview recorded for “At Issue with Tom Hauser.”

Gad, who is challenging incumbent Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar in the 5th Congressional District primary, does not have the typical background for a political candidate. She even announced her campaign in a video shot in a jail cell.

“I got in trouble with the criminal justice system and I spent 2012 through 2015 pretty much in and out of jails, rehab centers, the streets even at times,” Gad said. “And during my experiences in the system I had this epiphany that our criminal justice system does not deliver justice. It inflicts just unimaginable horrors on the lives of regular Americans who just made mistakes or got addicted to opioids. Addiction is a disease. It’s not something people choose.”

Gad found a way to land on her feet.

“I worked very hard to get my life back on track so that I can even just be taken seriously when applying for law school and, fortunately, I got into some great schools,” Gad said.

She studied law at the University of Chicago, moved to Minneapolis and passed the Minnesota bar. Now she’s practicing law as a defense and civil rights attorney.

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Gad is one of three Democrats attempting to unseat Omar next year, along with former Minneapolis City Council Member Don Samuels and Air Force veteran Tim Peterson.

You can hear more about Gad’s story and why she’s running for Congress at 10 a.m. Sunday on “At Issue.”