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Montgomery Township Has a New Mayor and Deputy Mayor, Two Incumbents Sworn in at Organization Meeting

By Barbara A. Preston | Posted January 4, 2024

Before a standing-room only crowd, Montgomery Township got a new mayor, a new deputy mayor, and two incumbent committee members were sworn in at the municipal building tonight.

As previously reported by The Montgomery News, Montgomery Mayor Devra Keenan passed the baton to a new mayor. During the Montgomery Township organization meeting tonight, Keenan, who had served three years as mayor of Montgomery, nominated Neena Singh to the position of mayor. It was seconded by Committeewoman Patricia Taylor Todd. The Township Committee unanimously voted in favor of electing Singh as the new mayor. The large crowd gave a standing ovation, demonstrating its hearty approval.

Singh, a 22-year resident of Montgomery, is the first Sikh woman to be named mayor in the state of New Jersey. Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-12), the first Black woman to represent New Jersey in U.S. Congress, administerd the oath of office to Mayor Singh.

Montgomery Township Mayor Neena Singh

Montgomery Township Mayor Neena Singh (left) with her daughter (center) and Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-12). Photos by Douglas Herring and Virginia Herring.

"I feel honored and humbled to be the first Sikh woman mayor in New Jersey, and first immigrant Indian to hold this prestigious office in Montgomery and Somerset County," Mayor Singh told The Montgomery News. "The support of Montgomery residents and encouragement of friends has been a shining light in this journey of public service."

Singh addressed the crowd, saying she came to America with the same hopes and aspirations as the country's forefathers. "I thank God that my family and I settled in beautiful Montgomery Township—a town that is representative of the American Dream. It offers all its people the opportunity to develop better, richer, and fuller lives."

"For a girl who's dad was born in a small village in Punjab, India, this country and this town have given me immeasurable opportunties. I am immensely grateful."

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stonebridge at montgomery

The mayor presides at meetings of the Township Committee and has the power to appoint subcommittees with the consent of the Township Committee. The mayor also has the power to make proclamations concerning holidays and events of interest in the township, and to exercise the ceremonial power of the township. In the absence or disability of the mayor, the deputy mayor acts as mayor.

Montgomery Township Committee elected Vincent P. Barragan to the position of deputy mayor. He is the first Latino to serve on the Montgomery Township Committee. His parents came to this country from Cuba and Ecuador in search of liberty and economic opportunity, he says, and they instilled in him the values of patriotism, education, hard work, and service.

Vincent P. Barragan and family.

Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman swears in Montgomery Deputy Mayor Vince Barragan. His wife, Cathy Caicedo (left) and their son Vincent (center) join him. Photos by Douglas Herring and Virginia Herring.

Barragan was appointed to the Township Committee in the spring of 2022 to fill an unexpired term, and then was elected to serve a three-year term in November 2022.

"We were talking about where we come from," Barragan said. "As a boy from Elizabeth and Rahway, and making it to here, it means a lot.

In addition, Congresswoman Watson Coleman gave the oath of office to Township Committeewoman Patricia Taylor Todd, who was appointed in early 2023 to fill the unexpired term of Shelly Bell. Taylor Todd was elected to a three-year term in November. She is also a member of the Montgomery Planning Board, and is an attorney. Her husband is Montgomery School Board Vice President Patrick Todd. (Yes Patrick and Patricia).

Patricia Taylor Todd

From left, Montgomery Township Committeewoman Patricia Taylor Todd with her husband Patrick Todd and Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman. Photos by Douglas Herring and Virginia Herring.

Taylor Todd said she is humbled to serve on Township Committee. "We all have our different skill sets," she said. "I'm looking forward to helping the community to be more engaged. We have a lot of qualifications up here. I have a lot of letters behind my name, but really, I'm really just a little girl from Philadelphia who worked her way through college on $3.85 an hour."

"I am thankful, and grateful to be here," she said. "And I look forward to a great three years."

Finally, Rep. Andy Kim (D-3), who represents Burlington County and parts of Mercer and Monmouth counties in U.S. Congress, swore in Montgomery Township Committeman Dennis Ahn. Ahn was elected to a one-year term in November. He is the chief operating officer of Kasia Market, scheduled to open in Belle Mead this spring.

Montgomery Township Committeeman Dennis Ahn with Rep. Andy Kim (D-3)

From left: Montgomery Township Committeeman Dennis Ahn with Rep. Andy Kim (D-3) at the Montgomery Township Committee organizational meeting on January 4.

Committeeman Ahn thanked the Montgomery Township voters for electing him to office.

"As a second-generation Korean-American born in Jersey, I am proud to be the first elected Korean-American official in Somerset County," he said. "It means a great deal to me."


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