NJ General Assembly Candidate for Legislative District 16
► Sadaf F. Jaffer (D)
► Sadaf F. Jaffer (D)
Montgomery Township resident
Two-term Montgomery mayor
In her words:
I am running to serve the community and make positive change. I’m a researcher at Princeton University. As mayor of Montgomery Township, I focused on community building, connecting residents with resources, and making sure all voices are heard.
My experience as a government official and scholar have prepared me to fight tough battles for this district. As a member of the Assembly, I will work to guarantee as much prosperity as I can for everyone in this district.
I would institute an economic recovery that promotes green jobs, promotes human and civil rights, and empowers an inclusive public health approach to COVID-19. ■
Should we end college tuition, and provide funding so students could attend for free?
As a college professor, education is very near and dear to my heart. But I also came from a middle class background. There was nothing to guarantee that I would have access to the types of institution I was able to attend — and that was because of scholarships. I know I was an underprivileged minority and that’s not fair. Everyone should have access to high quality higher education.
New Jersey takes pride in the fact that we have the number one school system in the country. That’s wonderful for K-12 education. But I do think we have to provide opportunity for higher education as well.
There are different paths, but I don’t think it’s all about what career you are going to go into.
It’s about examining the world around you; having an understanding of how to tell fact from fiction; how to know if what you are being told is actually based in research or not.
We’ve seen the deficits in our country over the past year of people who just don’t know who to trust. They don’t know if they should trust public health officials or someone else when it comes to taking safety precautions. We need to change that.
If we want a society that focuses on critical thinking, in which we are all educated and we all understand the world around us, then I think we should support higher education for anyone who wants to pursue that path.
Sadaf Jaffer is an activist, community builder, and scholar.
Jaffer is a researcher and lecturer at Princeton University.
She recently completed two terms as mayor of Montgomery Township. In January of 2019, she became the first South Asian woman to serve as mayor of a municipality in New Jersey, and the first Muslim woman to serve as mayor of a municipality in the United States.
Her initiatives included: creating and implementing a crisis communications plan to help Montgomery maintain some of the lowest COVID-19 infection and fatality rates in New Jersey; facilitating a participatory design process for the municipal center and library project started by her predecessors while securing millions of dollars in state funding; responding to demands for racial justice by coordinating meetings for Black community members and youth activists with the township’s police leadership to build trust and mutual understanding; and inaugurating a Youth Leadership Council to elevate the voices of young people who are energized to lead.
Jaffer also is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in South Asian Studies at Princeton University where she teaches courses on South Asian, Islamic, and Asian American Studies.
Jaffer currently serves as chairperson of the Inclusion and Equity Committee of Montgomery Township and on the Board of Trustees for the New Jersey Council for the Humanities.
She was a founding member of Inspiring South Asian American Women. She is on the Board of Directors for The New Agenda, an organization that promotes women’s economic empowerment and combats sexual harassment.
Jaffer earned her bachelor’s degree in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and obtained her PhD in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from Harvard University. ■