If elected, Nina would represent the first woman of color to serve as a state-wide executive in the Commonwealth’s 233-year history. Dr. Ahmad would also become the only current women and person of color in Pennsylvania’s executive offices.
When Nina was just eleven years old, in her native country of Bangladesh, she witnessed the worst of politics. Greed and corruption drove violence and despair. Career politicians sowed division.
That’s when she learned about organizing, and when she saw the necessity of a strong community and the power it can have. Nina and her family watched progressive Americans raise awareness, joining ordinary people in Bangladesh in mobilizing for peace. Half a world away in Pennsylvania, advocates and activists joined together with labor unions, taking concerted and critical action to end the violence and change life as she knew it. Nina envisioned a path for safe passage, and her life was transformed.
Nearly ten years later, she would forge out on her own. At only 21, Nina came to Pennsylvania, working hard to put herself through school University of Pennsylvania. She earned a Ph.D. in Chemistry and completed a medical fellowship at Thomas Jefferson University. Nina eventually built a diverse community of friends and colleagues, and she embraced being a proud American. She succeeded as a molecular biologist and a responsible small business owner. She married, becoming a loving wife and a mom, raising two daughters who are both now college-educated and making an impact in their communities.
Nina is a strong advocate for women and communities of color. As a catalyst for change, she served for nearly half a decade as President of the Philadelphia chapter National Organization for Women (NOW), and she is honored to serve as a national board member to this day. Nina 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.
Most recently, Nina served as a Deputy Mayor for Public Engagement under Mayor Kenney, where she was responsible for managing dynamic people, initiatives, and participated in the management of a $4 billion operating budget in public funds. Nina has also worked closely with officials like Mayor Michael Nutter and Governor Tom Wolf. She’s fostered initiatives including launching the city’s Commission for Women, fighting for pay equity, and working to end workplace harassment. Nina gathered support for reform and opportunity through the city’s Youth Commission, the Office of Black Male Engagement, and the office of LGBT affairs.
Nina also proudly served President Barack Obama as a member of the National Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, advising on key issues affecting the health, employment, and well-being of these communities.
Nina knows dedication, education, and insight can be a light to those left-behind or struggling. Community is hard-won. It can gather speed and impact. Nina fights for others because others fought for her. Her work now is just-returns.
Ambassador (Ret.) Joseph M. Torsella is a successful civic leader who will bring integrity, energy, and vision to the office of Pennsylvania State Treasurer. A Democrat, Joe was the first declared candidate for the April 2016 primary election.
Joe is the kind of commonsense problem-solver we need in public life. Because Treasury manages $100 billion in public funds and has pre-audit authority over every single check the Commonwealth issues, it’s an ideal platform for someone with Joe’s record of bringing efficiency, sound management, and innovation to the public sector, a theme of Joe’s career.
And because the Treasurer – who sits on nearly twenty consequential boards dealing with issues ranging from infrastructure to pensions to higher education – has such a wide-ranging role, Joe will be a strong voice for smart policy, fiscal responsibility, and public integrity on many, many issues that will shape Pennsylvania’s future:
From serving as an U.S. Representative to the United Nations to leading the development of the sparkling new National Constitution Center so effectively that the Philadelphia Inquirer declared him “a modern-day founding father,” Joe Torsella has always valued the need for innovation and new ideas in public service.
From 2011 to 2014, Joe was US Ambassador to the UN for Management and Reform. He was the architect and chief public spokesperson for the Obama Administration’s UN reform plans released in 2012, and was the United States government’s lead fiscal watchdog at the UN, from its $36 billion in annual budgets to its $41 billion pension fund to its $2 billion headquarters renovation project. In his tenure, the US reversed a decade-long trend of unbridled growth in UN budgets, brought new transparency to the UN through webcasting of meetings and publication of UN audits, and won milestone reforms toward ending sexual exploitation and abuse of civilian populations by UN peacekeepers and ending the unfair exclusion of Israel in UN bodies. Torsella’s plainspoken style earned him praise from UN watchers and from publications ranging from Le Monde to the New York Post, and he was recognized for his successful use of social media and public diplomacy to promote US policy. A UN outsider, Joe spoke frankly and colorfully about the need for the UN to end “business as usual” and frequently reminded his UN colleagues that the “obligation to our taxpayers” is to “do more with less.”
Prior to his service as an UN Ambassador, Joe served as Chairman of the Pennsylvania State Board of Education. In that role, Joe opened the board’s workings to the public – holding board meetings outside of Harrisburg for the first time in decades – and led the board to set forth an agenda around high school reform, teacher quality, healthy and safe schools, and college affordability. The Board’s hearings and proposals on making higher education more affordable won national notice and sparked legislative action in Pennsylvania.
From 1997 to 2003, Joe was the founding President and CEO of the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, a non-profit museum and education center dedicated to explaining and celebrating American ideas and ideals. As the driving force behind the concept, construction, and opening of the $200 million facility on Independence Mall, Joe led the Constitution Center to international acclaim, financial stability, and an unparalleled institutional reputation. He returned to the Constitution Center for a second term as CEO from 2006 to 2009, persuading President George H. W. Bush to join the Center as its Chairman, and working to establish the Center’s international program, including democracy education work in Afghanistan. Joe was asked to lead the National Constitution Center by then-Mayor Rendell.
Between 1992 and 1993, Joe served as Deputy Mayor for Policy and Planning in Philadelphia under Rendell. He helped devise initiatives that helped resolve a $1.25 billion cumulative deficit. The New York Times hailed this nationally-acclaimed financial recovery as “the most stunning turnaround” in American municipal history. In addition to his career in government, Joe has served in a variety of high profile civic posts. In 2005, he co-chaired the Greater Philadelphia bid for the 2016 Olympic Games. A former successful small business owner, he serves on several corporate boards, and he served as a Distinguished Visiting Fellow in Public Policy at Drexel University.
Raised in Berwick, PA, Joe graduated from Wyoming Seminary high school. After graduating with honors from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Economics and History, Joe studied at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. He lives with his wife, Carolyn P. Short, in Flourtown, Pennsylvania; they have four children.
Josh Shapiro is a rare public servant who has risen above politics time and again to take on the status quo and protect everyday Pennsylvanians.
As a State Representative, Josh wrote and passed some of the toughest ethics laws in state history. Philadelphia Magazine wrote that Josh was “a blast of oxygen in the smoke-choked back rooms of quid-pro-quo Harrisburg,” and his work earned him a national reputation as a bipartisan consensus builder.
Then, as Chairman of the Montgomery County Commissioners, he led a fiscal and ethical turnaround, took early steps to combat the heroin epidemic, helped the first LGBT couples in Pennsylvania marry and fired Wall Street money managers to save retirees millions. His work on behalf of victims and for criminal justice reform as the Chairman of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency earned him the trust of law enforcement leaders from both parties.
As Attorney General, Josh has restored integrity to the office and is standing up for the rule of law and safeguarding Pennsylvanians’ rights — no matter what they look like, who they love, or who they pray or don’t pray to.
He has taken on child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, identifying 301 predator priests and thousands of victims and spurring investigation across the United States. He has twice secured national injunctions protecting women’s access to no-cost contraception as required by the Affordable Care Act. He is fighting our country’s opioid epidemic on every front– including leading a multistate investigation into pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors.
Josh Shapiro earned his law degree at night from Georgetown University, and is a member of the Pennsylvania Bar. Josh was raised in Montgomery County, where he met his high school sweetheart, Lori, and where they are raising their four young children.
Liz Hanbidge is a Democratic member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, representing the 61st Legislative District in Montgomery County. Prior to joining the state legislature, Liz owned a law practice in Montgomery County serving families, small businesses and nonprofit organizations.
Her passion for advocacy has also led her to devote significant pro bono time to the Montgomery Child Advocacy Project. Spending a significant amount of her professional time as a court-appointed guardian, Liz has worked tirelessly with police, Judges, and the Office of Children and Youth to help protect vulnerable children throughout the county.
Hanbidge continues to teach civics to sixth graders at Gwyn-Nor Elementary and East Norriton Middle School, working in conjunction with the local bar association. Rep. Hanbidge has a consistent record of standing up for those most vulnerable, sponsoring House Bill 2192 providing for BPA-free plastic container products for infants. Additionally, she has sponsored House Bill 1435, The Family and Medical Leave Act. Rep. Hanbidge has also supported mental health care and suicide prevention efforts for our Veterans and First Responders in House Bills 951 and 1459.
As the first female Democrat elected to represent the 61st District, Liz has fought for the rights of marginalized communities, sponsoring House Bill 950, the LGBTQ Senior Community Grant Program to provide assistance to aging members of the LGBTQ Community. Rep. Hanbidge is passionate about transparency and communication with her constituents, hosting 8 town halls and open houses during her year in office.
For too long, career politicians throughout Pennsylvania have ignored their constituents and catered to special interests. In the meantime, Liz has spent her entire career giving voice to the voiceless and fighting to protect those most harmed by Harrisburg’s apathy. Given her proven record of fighting for the rights of vulnerable Penssylvanians, Representative Liz Hanbidge plans to continue her efforts to protect the children, mothers, veterans, and elderly in Montgomery County and beyond.
State Representative Steve Malagari was elected in 2018 to represent Pennsylvania’s 53rd Legislative District.
Born and raised in Lansdale along with his two siblings, Steve graduated from North Penn High School and Ursinus College. Steve went on to become one of the youngest council members on Lansdale Borough Council. As a council member and member of the Montgomery County Transportation Authority, Steve remained focused on improving the local roads and bridges that residents rely on in their daily lives and in community development projects.
A former local beverage seller, Steve is an impassioned advocate for working and middle-class families.
He now lives with his wife, Rachel, blocks away from where he grew up in the district.
Malagari's priorities for improving lives within the 53rd Legislative District include providing quality education, expanding infrastructure projects to repair neglected roadways, installing environmental health protections, and ensuring that everyone has access to affordable health care by reducing the costs to patients and small businesses.
Born and raised in Glenside, Pennsylvania, to Bob and Mary Dean, Madeleine got her start in politics around the dinner table with her five older brothers and one older sister. She was graduated from Abington High School, and at age 18 won election to serve as a local committee-person. Madeleine completed her undergraduate studies at La Salle University in Philadelphia, and earned her law degree at Delaware Law School of Widener University. She returned home, practicing law in a small Philadelphia firm and with the Philadelphia Trial Lawyers Association and eventually serving as executive director. Madeleine then opened a small, three-woman law practice in Glenside.
While she and her husband PJ were raising three young sons, Madeleine changed careers. From 2001 until 2011 she was a member of the English Department at LaSalle University — teaching composition, persuasive writing and rhetoric, business writing, legal writing, and ethics. She also contributed to The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Daily News, The Patriot-News, and other publications.
With her children grown, Madeleine took the chance to enter public service — something she had long wanted — after studying politics and public service at Penn’s Fels School of Government. In 2011, Madeleine ran for and served as Abington Township commissioner, before winning a special election to the Pennsylvania State House in 2012.
During her six-and-a-half years in Harrisburg, Madeleine was an outspoken champion of public education, healthcare access, environmental protection, equal rights, ethics, criminal justice reform, combating addiction, and ending gun violence. Following the Sandy Hook shooting, Madeleine founded and served as Co-Chair of the PA-SAFE Caucus — an active coalition of legislators and advocates dedicated to ending gun violence.
Throughout her career in the Legislature, Madeleine also worked closely with local officials to bring home millions of dollars in infrastructure projects that promote safer, greener, more livable communities. And with her extraordinary coworkers, her office served tens of thousands of constituents with problems big and small.
In 2015, Governor Tom Wolf appointed Madeleine to the Pennsylvania Commission for Women, advising the Governor on policies and legislation to improve the lives of women and their families.
Madeleine’s concern for equality — and a broader desire to expand her public service — eventually inspired her run for Congress. In 2018, Pennsylvania had 18 Congressional seats — and 0 women. Along with a cadre of other women from across the state, Madeleine set out to change that. She ran for the Fourth Congressional District seat and won.
In Congress, Madeleine remains focused on decency and the common good. That means working hard to address issues that affect Americans deeply — including stopping gun violence and guaranteeing health care for all. In Madeleine’s view, building a more compassionate society means making smart, humane policy choices. It also means working to ensure that government functions smoothly and delivers the services constituents need.
Madeleine is a lifelong parishioner of St. Luke the Evangelist Church in Glenside, and has served as a board member for the St. Vincent de Paul Society. She and her husband PJ Cunnane live in Jenkintown, Abington Township, and have three grown sons – Patrick, Harry and Alex; two daughters-in-law – Stephanie and Juliet; and two granddaughters – Aubrey and Ella.
Jonathan and Cathy Kassa, married for over 22 years, are proud residents of Montgomery Township since 2001.They have raised two children in the North Penn School District, run a small business, volunteered in community organizations and developed a passion for public service. Jonathan graduated from Penn State University with an undergraduate degree in History, and earned a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Villanova University where he served as an adjunct instructor and as Emeritus MPA Department Advisory Board member. He is also a board member of Network of Victim Assistance (NOVA) Bucks County.
Jonathan was a senior executive who directed juvenile justice, social service and education programs at a multi-state nonprofit organization. Now, for over the past decade, Jonathan has led national initiatives to increase campus community safety and victim advocacy. He most recently partnered with other national experts to found a company that leverages technology to increase equity and transform accountability and efficiencies in campus crime reporting. Previously he served as a national director at North America’s largest security services provider. As executive director of a national nonprofit dedicated to safer campuses that influenced major legislation, he was entered as a “valuable leader in campus safety” in the 2008 (HR) Congressional Record.
Jonathan serves as a Director on the North Penn School District Board where he serves as Chair of the Facilities & Operations and Safe Schools committees. He has led transformative initiatives in comprehensive school safety strategies, innovative tax-payer relief for seniors, full-day kindergarten, and investments to improve the climate of learning and quality of facilities across the district. He has been a leader for transparency and genuine engagement with all members of the community by having board meetings and forums in the communities where people reside and increasing board accessibility.
Jonathan has shown not only the ability to win, but the ability to get things done and be accountable once an election is over.
Working in such professional and volunteer capacities prepared Jonathan for the challenging give and take of public service. In every endeavor Jonathan has undertaken, every effort to improve life locally and in the wider world, he has learned one fundamental lesson about building consensus: common sense is not political.