Tuesday, April 23, 2024

City councillor Nadeem Mazen speaks in late April at a March for Science event. (Photo: Caroline Mak via Facebook)

Two-term city councillor Nadeem Mazen has decided not to run for reelection.

“I’ve spent the past few months revving up for November elections,” he said in a mass email early Thursday, but decided to instead “to suspend my campaign now, after only two terms.” Instead, he will focus on helping others run before mulling a run for higher office later.

“If all goes to plan, I will use this summer to direct mini-documentaries that foster these [political] conversations for as broad an audience as possible. I will consider a run for higher office in 2018 or 2020, but I need to focus on our community conversations in the months immediately ahead,” Mazen wrote.

He was first elected in 2013 – the first Muslim elected to a government post in Massachusetts – vowing to stay in office for only four to six years before returning fully to the private sector. By declining to run again in November, he will leave after his fourth year.

Mazen leads an Iftar fast-breaking event in June at City Hall.

Mazen won his council seat after getting only 984 first-place votes in Cambridge’s 2013 race, which was ninth for a nine-seat body; running for reelection, he topped the ballot as that figure surged to 1,929 first-place votes. The next-closest candidate, longtime incumbent E. Denise Simmons, was more than 200 votes behind.

“I won my first election by just 14 votes,” he marveled in his Thursday email.

This isn’t the first shakeup seen in the upcoming election. David Maher, longtime city councillor and mayor David Maher said in November that he would not run for a 10th term, and instead lead the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce as its president and chief executive. So far the field is a few candidates smaller than in past elections, but formal nominations don’t even come until the summer, and two open seats are likely to provoke more interest from potential candidates.

Before running, Mazen had moved to Cambridge for undergraduate and graduate work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Saying he “fell in love with the city,” he stayed to open two small businesses in Central Square: Nimblebot.com, which makes educational media and software for social entrepreneurs and provides access to cutting-edge technology and job training; and danger!awesome, which did retail prototyping and design and taught the principles of working with equipment such as laser cutters and 3-D printers. Last year Mazen and a partner sold the business and let its spaces on Prospect Street and Massachusetts Avenues go for educational uses.

More recently, he co-founded Jetpac, a political advocacy and candidate training center “committed to reinvigorating politics [and] striving for fair representation of minority communities – especially our Muslim communities and allies – at the local, state and federal levels.”