Washoe County’s “Positive Advocate” Vies for Votes

First-time candidate Hawah Ahmad shares why she’s running for Washoe County Commission.

When Hawah Ahmad was a student at Galena High School, she never expected her volunteer work would lead her straight to the campaign trail.

Hawah is 29, a born and bred Washoe County resident. She says “As the child of immigrants, I haven’t had the luxury of sitting on the sidelines…I have always been involved”. Today she describes herself as a “positive advocate.”

A City Council for Teens

Her first step was becoming a member of the Reno Youth City Council. The longtime program, styled after the city’s own council of leaders, invites young people 14-18 years of age to apply (link below). Once appointed by the Reno City Council, the 4 teen members work to make Reno a better place for youth. It’s not just for show: many ideas the youth council has come up with have been implemented by the city.

You can click here to apply for the Reno Youth City Council:


Helping Washoe County’s Seniors

Today Hawah serves as the Chair of the Washoe County Senior Advisory Board. The board manages Washoe County Senior Services, which was formed over 40 years ago to assist our 60+ community. The need is there: Washoe County is home to one of the fastest growing senior communities in the U.S.

Senior Services hosts daily full-meal lunches with milk at 7 locations in Reno/Sparks. For seniors 60+, they’re offered for a $2 suggested donation. Those under 60, $4. Click the link for the monthly menu calendar here: https://www.washoecounty.gov/seniorsrv/nutrition/congregate.php

Besides the dine-in lunches. USDA food is offered in the  Commodities Program to  residents 60 and over who meet income requirements. Washoe County’s Food Pantry Program offers 2 bags of groceries a month per household at the Reno Senior Center. There’s also the Food Bank Truck that delivers food. All are offered to our local eligible seniors.

There’s Much More than Help with Food

Washoe County Senior Services offers help with legal services and assistance in getting food stamps, Veteran’s benefits and even paying bills. There’s also a day health program, a list of current affordable housing, and even a Senior Ride program for bus and discounted taxi trips.

You can see the entire scope of Washoe County Senior Services here: https://www.washoecounty.gov/seniorsrv/index.php

Besides overseeing and reviewing these services, Hawah and other board members follow Washoe County’s “Master Plan for Aging Services, develop new goals, make budget recommendations and follow local senior needs to better serve our aging community.

Welcome to Politics

Running for office is taking a new road. Hawah says she’s confident in her ability to learn quickly and become a strong representative of the community. As she put it, “Growing up in Washoe County, I learned that waiting for change doesn’t create change. You must be the change you wish to see. (We’re) growing and with that growth will come change, but that change cannot just be for those who are coming in but for those who are already here.”

The Washoe County Commission seat she’s running for covers downtown Reno, the university area, west Sparks and Sun Valley. Incumbent Kitty Jung has held the District 3 seat since 2007 but has termed out. Hawah is running in the Democrat primary. The winner of that will then run against Republican Denise Myer in November.

Issues on the Campaign Trail

Hawah has focused on 13 main points throughout her campaign (link below), including working to help seniors: “They deserve to be supported. That means we must ensure that the Senior Centers are fully open and provided with the resources they need to deliver the over 500,000 meals that flow through the 9th Street Center. Develop rent negotiation programs to ensure that the county’s lack of affordable housing does not create more homeless seniors.”

Click here for Hawah’s Top Issues: