An Interview With Mahmoud Mahmoud: Candidate For Congress CD-8

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Mahmoud Mahmoud was born in Cairo, Egypt and immigrated with his parent, brother and sister to the United States at the age of four. He and his family members became naturalized U.S. citizens a few years later. His father worked three jobs to support his family and his mother worked as a housekeeper in a hotel as well as mopped floors in a fast food restaurant. Growing up in Parsippany, NJ, he attended English as a Second Language classes in the first and second grade. With parents who put a high value on good education and hard work, Mahmoud and his siblings eventually became college graduates. As a family, they met the challenges of immigrant life in the U.S. and have been successful in their chosen fields. Mahmoud understands the immigrant struggle first hand and is able to work with people from all backgrounds. His experiences in his community as a child and a young adult provided the impetus for a life in public service.

At William Patterson University, Mahmoud was the Vice President of the Student Government Association and handled a budget of tens of thousands of dollars. He was also the sophomore class president and went on to graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology. After being accepted to law schools, he decided to pursue a degree in public policy which would allow him to have a direct and positive impact on his community. His Master’s degree in Public Policy/Public Service from the Clinton School of Public Service at Arkansas University gave him the opportunity to interface with elected officials, community activists and leaders from different industries. He worked in maximum security prisons, correctional facilities and with at- risk youth. One of the most gratifying experiences was in helping kids avoid incarceration through programs which provide alternatives to the streets of their tough neighborhoods.

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Following graduate school, Mahmoud lived in Egypt for a few years where he began focusing on issues pertaining to poverty. He taught U.S. history and English at an international school, which provided him a high level of respect for teachers. He went on to work at the United Nations in Cairo with individuals fleeing from countries due to conflict and disaster. He managed a case load of over 1000 displaced people and was responsible for approving or denying their applications to stay in the country.

Continuing work for the United Nations, Mahmoud moved on to serve in refugee camps in Kenya and Somalia. He assisted some of the most vulnerable and lowest income people on the planet. He then brought his experiences back home and became the director of an immigrant and refugee program based in Jersey City. Determined to make New Jersey a welcoming place, he built the office from the ground up in order to serve this population. He helped to provide vital services such as navigating the Social Security Administration, finding jobs, registering for schools and attaining safe, affordable and clean housing.

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As a community organizer in Jersey City and the greater Hudson County area, Mahmoud has determinedly focused his energy on issues of improving education and affordable housing as well as increasing public safety and decreasing gun violence. He organized over 1,000 tenants and leaders throughout Jersey City to combat predatory landlords who illegally raise rent and try to forcefully evict tenants. He continues to work on the ground in some of Jersey City’s toughest neighborhoods to advocate for local job opportunities, more community policing and better- quality education.

Another population that Mahmoud has had the honor of working with is the veteran population.
He was the Regional Director for the American Red Cross in their Armed Services Division. He helped to provide services for active military members and veterans as well as their family members. He has a deep and abiding respect for their service and understands their struggles
with the Veteran’s Administration (VA). As a result, improving the VA is one of Mahmoud’s top priorities.

Mahmoud is running for Congress because he believes in equality. He is proud of the diversity of NJ-08’s population and wants all of its constituents to prosper irrespective of race, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, political opinion, gender or any other particular social group.