Nina Ahmad: A Woman, a Scientist, a Dynamic Policymaker

Growing up in Bangladesh, Nina Ahmad witnessed first-hand how greed and corruption drove violence and despair, and how career politicians sowed division. That’s when she learned about organizing, the necessity of a strong community, and the power it can have. Now, Nina, a scientist by training and a small-business owner, is running to be Pennsylvania’s auditor general. If elected in November, she becomes the first woman of color to serve as a state-wide executive in the Commonwealth’s 233-year history. In the June 11 Democratic primary, Nina, a former Philadelphia deputy mayor, prevailed over five other contenders. She now faces Timothy DeFoor in the general election. DeFoor ran unopposed in the Republican primary.

Nina says she got into public service as a way to give back. She knows firsthand how dedication, education, and insight can be a light to those left-behind or struggling. According to her website, Nina ran on a platform of “using the office of auditor general as a tool for change, transparency, and accountability.”

Nina says as auditor general, she will “view all of the audits that the office conducts through the lens of racial equity, work to stamp out sexual harassment and discrimination in state government, and change the culture in Harrisburg.”

Former President Barack Obama has endorsed Nina, as has California Senator Kamala Harris, the Democratic nominee for vice president; Mayor Pete Buttigieg, a former Democratic presidential candidate; and Pennsylvania state senators Art Haywood and Katie, among others.

Most recently, Nina served as a deputy mayor for public engagement under Philadelphia Mayor James Francis Kenney. She also served as a member of the National Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders during the Obama administration.

A strong advocate for women and communities of color, and a catalyst for change, Nina served for nearly half a decade as president of the Philadelphia chapter National Organization for Women (NOW), and continues to be a national board member to this day. She has also served on local nonprofit boards and acted as a leader in her community. As a small-business owner, she’s spurred good jobs with union-generated and labor-built partnerships, and has made key responsible decisions on community investments.

Nina came to the United States alone at age 21. She waitressed and worked other minimum-wage jobs before earning a Ph.D. in chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania, and later working as a medical scientist at Wills Eye Hospital and Thomas Jefferson Medical College.

She and her husband live in the Mt. Airy neighborhood of Philadelphia with their two daughters, Priya and Joya.