Nina Ahmad Announces Bid for Lieutenant Governor

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Women’s rights activist and scientist Nina Ahmad has announced that she is running for Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania.

In November 2017, Ahmad resigned from her position as Mayor Jim Kenney’s Deputy Mayor for Public Engagement to run for U.S. Congress, vying to represent Pennsylvania’s First Congressional District. A statement released on Monday by the Ahmad campaign said that the redrawing of the state’s congressional map led Ahmad to end her bid for Congress, though she still supports the effort to end gerrymandering in Pennsylvania.

“I was running for Congress because I’ve been fighting injustice and discrimination in Pennsylvania for twenty-five years, and I believe we need more truly progressive voices in government,” Ahmad said in her statement.

Ahmad grew up in South Asia in the area that is now Bangladesh, moving to the U.S. when she was 21. She earned her Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania and went on to work as a molecular biologist.

If elected Lieutenant Governor, Ahmad promises to be a champion for women’s rights, saying she will partner with Governor Tom Wolf “to help stamp out sexism and sexual harassment that holds us back.”

“Harrisburg has been male-dominated for too long,” Ahmad said in her statement. “Its culture won’t change without new voices.”

Other top priorities for the candidate include improving the public education system, creating jobs, and enacting stricter gun laws, an issue that resonates with Ahmad as she spent her childhood in a war-torn country.

“I have personally witnessed the horrific destruction caused by deadly assault weapons, and I will fight for tough new gun laws to make our schools more secure and our families safer,” Ahmad said in her statement.

Ahmad joins five other contenders looking to unseat current Lieutenant Governor Mike Stack in the May 15 primary: Braddock Mayor John Fetterman, Chester County Commissioner Kathi Cozzone, Lancaster County Commissioner Craig Lehman, Iraq War veteran from Westmoreland County Aryanna Berringer, and Montgomery County banker/insurance broker Ray Sosa.

State Representative from Montgomery County Madeleine Dean announced her decision to drop out of the race(link is external) for Lieutenant Governor last week, choosing instead to make a run for U.S. Congress in light of the new congressional map.

Incumbent Stack is considered politically vulnerable due to controversies that have surrounded his office(link is external). Last year, Governor Wolf initiated an official inquiry into whether Stack and his wife, Tonya Stack, had verbally abused state employees. These employees include house staff at the official lieutenant governor’s residence near Harrisburg and the state police officers that provided the Stack family protection.

A poll conducted by Independence Communications & Campaigns earlier this month found that 55 percent of likely Democratic primary voters remain undecided in the primary election for Lieutenant Governor. The poll identified Fetterman as the front-runner (20 percent), followed by Cozzone (10 percent) and Stack (8 percent).

In Pennsylvania, each political party holds separate primary elections for Governor and Lieutenant Governor. The winners run as one ticket in the November general election.

– John N. McGuire | Al Dia Politics