Bangladeshi-American Nina Ahmad will challenge US Congressman Bob Brady in the 2018 Democratic primary in Philadelphia after quitting her post as the city’s deputy mayor for public engagement.
The primary election will be the key contest in a city where Democrats outnumber Republicans nearly 7 to 1, according to Philadelphia radio station WHYY
Ahmad resigned from her deputy mayor post on November 30 and appears to have the upper hand over Brady’s campaign, which is being accused by federal investigators of paying off a rival in 2012 to drop out of the primary.
Although Brady himself is unlikely to be charged, Ahmad told the NewsWorks Tonight that she would run regardless of whether the congressman was vulnerable or not.
“I’m excited about this new step, but it truly is the culmination of many years of work making sure voices that are marginalized are heard and making sure that Philadelphia is a warm and inclusive city,” she was quoted as saying by WHYY.
Ahmad pointed out that there was no woman in the Pennsylvania delegation and the last person was former US Rep. Allyson Schwartz.
“Not having a woman representative was reprehensible,” she said.
Brady, who is also the chairman of Philadelphia Democratic Party, appeared to be unphased by the challenge. “I love challengers, I wish her well,” he said.
Ahmad left Bangladesh for the US at the age of 21 and went on to earn her PhD from the University of Pennsylvania before becoming a successful molecular biologist and entrepreneur.
The first generation American is a co-founder of APA for Progress and is also the former President of the Philadelphia chapter of the National Organization for Women.
Ahmad has led important efforts to fight workplace discrimination and harassment which undermines woman and people of colour economically.
She fought for progressive change as an organizer for Howard Dean’s the insurgent presidential campaign in 2004, and served as a national delegate for former president, Barack Obama.
Ahmad has also served on Obama’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and on former Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter’s Commission on Asian American Affairs.
“As an immigrant, I am very grateful to this country and particularly to this city for having embraced me and for me having these opportunities,” Ahmad told NewsWorks Tonight
“So I’m paying it forward. This is not an easy thing to do, I realize, for many people. So, I want to be the person opening that door for others behind me.”