CAMBRIDGE, MA – Cambridge City Councilor Nadeem Mazen is throwing his hat into an increasinlgy crowded race for retiring Massachusetts Rep. Niki Tsongas’ seat in the U.S. Congress.
Mazen had been exploring a run earlier in the year, possibly running against Mass. Rep Mike Capuano, but on Sunday he launced his campaign for 3rd Congressional District seat.
Mazen was elected to the Cambridge City Council in 2013, winning by a mere six votes. Two years later, he won re-election with the most votes among all 23 candidates running. Previously, Mazen graduated with an engineering degree from MIT before starting two businesses in Central Square, creative agency Nimblebot and makerspace danger!awesome.
Originally from Andover, he is also currently the highest ranking Muslim elected official in Massachusetts.
The race for Tsongas’ seat has been heating up since she announced in August that she would be stepping down. Current candidates for the position include Boston Mayor Marty Walsh’s Chief of Staff Daniel Koh, state Senators Eileen Donoghue, Jamie Eldridge and Barbara L’Italien and Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance founder Rick Green, of Pepperell.
Mazen said he was inspired to run because he’s concerned about the future of the Democratic party. Prior to the 2016 election, Mazen served as as surrogate for Bernie Sanders and later supported for Hilary Clinton. This week, Mazen officially announced his run at an event at Andover Town Hall.
Nadeem Mazen speaks to supporters at a campaign soft launch in Andover on Oct. 1.
"I was telling everyone Trump was going to win because the party was not invested at the local level," he said. "During the 2016 campaign we had three candidates agreeing the system is rigged. Of course, some of that talk was authentic and some was not. But we had an entire nation agreeing that something is not right about the standards we hold elected officials to."
Mazen said since the beginning of the year, President Trump has made it even easier to give away public resources to private corporations instead of "draining the swamp."
"On the left, we may get congress back in 2020 or 2022 but we need to figure out how to stay above the noise generate from the GOP," he said.
Mazen is a longtime community organizer and said he still believes in grassroots movements. During his time on the Cambridge City Council he led campaigns and policy initiatives for a $15/hr minimum wage, for net zero emissions, for arts funding, for real addiction solutions, for job training, and for Affordable Housing.
He also trained minorities, women, and underrepresented groups across the country to organize in their communities and run for office.
"We need to excite our base and create an authentic narrative about reform in this country," he said.
When Mazen joined the Council in 2013, he self-imposed a term limit and agreed to give a third of his salary to community organizations and to not take money from special interests.
"I think you’re seeing that become more and more popular,’ he said. "I had my time in Cambridge. Some folks get into this position and it has a salary so they just kick back, but that’s not how we get the best leadership and new voices into the conversation."
If Mazen wins the 3rd Congressional Seat next November, he said he would focus on bridging the wage training gap in Mass.
"The jobs are there, we have tech firms, corporations and small business growing fast in the state but most folks aren’t in a position where they can just walk in and land a job," he said. "In Cambridge, I’ve led the effort for more job training but that has to be done on the state level by engaging families and going person to person."
Courtesy Photo / Nadeem Mazen
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