Daughter of an Indian father and Pakistani mother vows to fight for universal healthcare, criminal justice and immigration reform
Raaheela Ahmed, a young, first generation Muslim woman of Indian and Pakistani descent, is running for Maryland’s District 23 Senate seat with a vow to fight for universal healthcare and immigration reform.
American-born and raised daughter of an Indian father and Pakistani mother, Ahmed, 27, a Democrat plans to quit the Prince George’s County Board of Education on Feb 19 after five years on the job.
A lifelong Prince Georgian and a product of the public school system, Ahmed vowed to “fight for our working families through her progressive platform that prioritizes educational equity, strengthening our democracy, universal healthcare, environmental justice, affordable housing, corporate accountability, and criminal justice and immigration reform.”
Read: Raaheela Ahmed reelected Maryland county board of education member (November 6, 2020)
The primary election is June 28. Ahmed represented District 5, with a population of more than 80,000, on the school board. Senate District 23 has more than 130,000 residents.
Announcing her decision to resign from the board “with a heavy heart,” Ahmed said, “it has been a challenging year on the Board of Education.”
“Too many times to count, I’ve seen our democracy under attack, with passed votes of the body utterly disregarded or actively halted by our system’s leadership, and policy violations right and left that have gone without true accountability,” she said .
“It’s my firm belief that this is a function of the flawed governance system created by our State Legislature nearly a decade ago — a system that is devoid of proper checks and balances, dilutes the vote and voice of our community, and does not allow for proper system oversight.”
“Although some positive corrections seem to be coming, they’re not nearly enough to re-democratize our system,” Ahmed said. “It has become abundantly clear that the only way to improve the governance shortfalls of our school system, and work towards a better, stronger education system for our students, is for me to run and advocate for us at another level of government.”
Ahmed said she was not resigning from the Board of Education “because of apathy or defeat due to this flawed system. To the contrary, I’m resigning out of a sense of strong responsibility to our students and our community, in order to attempt to restore our democracy and our voice, and to focus on representing us all in the Maryland State Senate, District 23.”
“Rest assured, my fire and passion to fight for us runs strong. It has been my greatest pleasure and honor to serve you in this role. My service to and for us is far from over,” Ahmed said.
Ahmed first ran for office as an 18-year old underdog and anti-establishment figurehead in 2012. She lost that election by 3%, ultimately coming back the following cycle. She was subsequently re-elected to the Board of Education in 2020.
Currently, Ahmed is the Deputy Director of Campus Vote Project, a nonprofit where she manages the national team of state organizers that focus on institutionalizing voting on college campuses and help students vote.
She is also a trainer with the Progressive Governance Academy, where she trains elected leaders across the country on community leadership, good governance and legislative action.
Before these roles, Ahmed served as the Manager of Leadership Programs for NewAmericanLeaders, where she created and maintained a400+ national network of elected officials of immigrant background that are committed to an inclusive democracy, according to her website.
Ahmed was also an Advisory Associate with the Global Public Sector at Grant Thornton LLP. She provided financial management services to federal clients, including the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Protective Service.
Ahmed graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park as an honors student with a BS in Finance and a BA in Economics.