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Democrats Take Montgomery

Kent Huang (D) and Devra Keenan (D) to join three other Democrats on Montgomery Township Committee in January.

Montgomery Democrats Kent Huang and Devra Keenan declared victory on Tuesday night, Nov 5, over Republican committee members Ed Trzaska and Kamran Quraishi.

Unofficial results (which do not include mail-in ballots) are:

Kent Huang 2,065

Devra Keenan 1,981

Ed Trzaska 1,653

Kamran Quraishi 1,488

Keenan attributed the Democrats' success to getting supporters to show up during an off-year election.

Montgomery Township Clerk Donna Kukla said that 20 percent, or 3,711 of 17,948 of registered voters in the township, exercised their right to vote. "That is not terrible," she said.

When asked what the Democrats hope to accomplish next year, Huang said, "I don't think we've discussed that yet. We are individuals who will work well as a team. I think we each have different interests and bring different skill sets to the committee and hopefully we will use that in an effective way."

"It's also a humbling experience," Huang said, "it's the trust that the residents have put into us, that we're going to make sound judgments and informed decisions and do things we think are in the best interest of the community. More importantly, we are going to listen to the community and take their voices and then make it into policy at the local level."

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Cookie Acot, Montgomery Democratic Organization Chairperson, says it took the township three years to reach a "full blue turn-around."

"Basically, it's the changing demographics in Montgomery," she says. "And, I think the previous administration did not really appreciate the new members of this community. Now, there is a feeling of being able to be at the table with representation from Sadaf (Jaffer) and now with Kent, and with more women being on the board. I think that means a lot."

The new demographics in Montgomery include a population that is about 33 percent Asian. "In the past few years," Acot said. "A lot of the volunteers we are getting are from the South Asian community. They are the ones who would like their voice to be heard."

Huang has been a resident of Montgomery Township since 2008. He is the chief risk officer at Mount Lucas Management LP, an alternative asset management firm. He has spent the past decade analyzing macro-economic trends — the result of changes occurring in society, in politics, and from advancements in science and technology. Managing financial and enterprise risk in this increasingly dynamic world requires an ability to think holistically, to act with transparency and inclusivity, to develop conclusions based on facts and data, and to adapt to new information.

Huang graduated cum laude from Rutgers University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance. He is a CFA and a certified Financial Risk Manager (FRM), as well as a member of the CFA Institute, CFA Society New York and the Global Association of Risk Professionals. Kent resides in Belle Mead with his wife Mei, a Psychiatric Clinical Pharmacist with Penn Medicine and a Clinical Assistant Professor at Rutgers University. They are the proud parents of two boys, Cameron and Andrew.

Huang says he will bring his entrepreneurial mindset, fiscal discipline, and holistic approach to the issues that are most important to the Montgomery Township community. He aims to provide innovative and sustainable solutions that are fiscally sound and socially responsible.

Keenan has lived in Montgomery for 21 years. She made her professional mark in the corporate world by helping business people achieve their goals and accomplishments. Prior to founding High Impact Advisors, a workforce innovation and coaching firm, she was a corporate vice-president overseeing Talent Acquisition and Recruiting Operations for the esteemed New York Life company.

A recent addition to the Montgomery Economic Development Commission, she is committed to challenging the current approach to development and the reliance on retail-based growth by shifting the focus to smart, sustainable redevelopment centered around serving the needs of Montgomery’s residents today and tomorrow.

Kennan grew up in a politically active family. Her mother was the first woman elected to the planning and zoning board in Andover, Connecticut.

Keenan is a graduate of Brandeis University, where she earned a bachelor's degree Anthropology. She lives with her husband Sergey, son Maxim, and dog Cooper in Skillman.

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