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McCourt alumna wins big in Georgia House race

Ruwa Romman (MPP’19) will be the first Muslim woman to serve in Georgia’s legislature and the first Palestinian ever elected to any public office in the state.

Ruwa Romman speaking at Georgetown University

Born in Jordan, Ruwa Romman moved to Georgia with her family shortly before terrorists attacked the United States on September 11, 2001. Romman was just 8 years old, and as a Muslim, experienced incessant bullying from peers, teachers and even close friends. 

“I remember trying so hard to get people to just see me as a person,” Romman recalled in an interview with CNN . “I stubbornly ignored the reality in front of me that my community was being systematically targeted from airports to universities to mosques,” she said.

Years of bullying and harassment motivated Romman to further her education and advocate for Muslims living in the United States. After graduating from Oglethorpe University in Georgia, where she served as president of the Student Government Association, Romman began her career as a consultant at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. She later served as the communications director at the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Georgia Chapter, the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, and devoted her spare time to local organizing with Georgia Muslim Voter Project.

From the McCourt School to Georgia’s House of Representatives

In 2017, Romman moved to Washington, DC, to earn a master’s degree in public policy at the McCourt School. As a graduate student, she served as the McCourt Student Association president and a co-chair of the student advisory board at the Georgetown Institute of Politics and Public Service (GU Politics). 

McCourt School Professor Sheila Foster remembers Romman as “a terrific interlocutor who consistently interjected thoughtful and critical analysis on a range of topics in class.” 

“Ruwa running for office and her win do not surprise me,” said Foster. “I always knew she would make a tremendous impact in her career.” 

Following her time at Georgetown, Romman returned to Georgia to advance her career as a policy analyst and political organizer. In 2020, she co-founded the Georgia Volunteer Hub which trained thousands of volunteers to support the Georgia Senate Runoff. Romman and her team now support ongoing efforts to bolster field teams and increase turnout in the forthcoming runoff election between Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock and his Republican challenger, Herschel Walker. 

I hope that people watching Georgia see that this is an incredibly diverse and complex state worthy of investment. History happens and is happening here.

Ruwa Romman (MPP’19)

Putting public service back into politics

Romman announced her candidacy for Georgia House of Representative District 97 in January 2022 and focused her platform on fully funding public education, bridging the economic opportunity gap, expanding access to health care and protecting the right to vote.

Ruwa Romman Campaign Sign

Romman outpaced Democratic challenger JT Wu in the May 2022 primary before defeating Republican John Chan in the general election. She earned 58% of the vote in Georgia House of Representatives District 97, which includes the nearly 60,000 residents living in Gwinnett County and communities that have historically been marginalized. Her district was the only one in the county to see an increase in turnout compared to 2018.

“I really want to change Georgia political culture and show my constituents that we all deserve representatives who put our needs first,” said Romman, whose campaign slogan was inspired by GU Politics’ mission to put public service back into politics. “Being a politician should mean you are someone serving your community, not someone trying to land the best talking point punch or serving special interests.”

Ruwa Romman and family in Duluth, Georgia, neighborhood

“When we started this journey 10 months ago, we made it a priority to be there for our entire community,” said Romman. “We’ve knocked thousands of doors and engaged with countless stakeholders, and the election results are the product of that hard work.”

Representative-Elect Romman currently resides in Duluth, Georgia, northeast of Atlanta. She will continue her work on issues facing her district and the broader Muslim community as she serves in the Georgia House of Representatives.  

“During my term, I hope that Georgia expands access to health care so that everyone can access life-saving care, including abortion. Additionally, I want to work on fully funding and providing high-quality public education opportunities, and bridging the economic opportunity gap,” she said.

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