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Former Mayor Sadaf Jaffer Announces Run for General Assembly

By Barbara A. Preston l February 22, 2021


Former Montgomery Township Mayor Sadaf Jaffer announced on Monday that she is seeking the Democratic nomination for the New Jersey General Assembly in Legislative District 16. The seat is currently held by Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker (D).


Zwicker kicked off his campaign in early February to run for the State Senate in the 16th Legislative District. Zwicker has served in the NJ General Assembly since 2016 and is a physicist and science educator at Princeton University.


Both Jaffer and Zwicker must first secure the Democrats' nomination by winning the Primary vote on June 8 against any other candidates. (Kip Bateman (R), the current 16th district state senator, has chosen not to seek reelection.)


In a statement to The Montgomery News, Jaffer said: "As a member of the Assembly, I will leverage what I learned during my two terms as mayor of Montgomery Township to serve the people of LD-16. I will ensure prosperity for all through economic development, access to health care, and infrastructure improvements. I will lead guided by the principles of economic justice, racial justice, gender justice, and environmental justice."

Sadaf Jaffer

As mayor, Jaffer created and implemented a crisis communications plan to help Montgomery Township maintain some of the lowest COVID-19 infection and fatality rates in New Jersey, facilitated a participatory planning and design process for the township’s new municipal center and library, and responded to demands for racial justice by coordinating meetings for Black community members and youth activists with the township’s police.

Sadaf Jaffer and her family at the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Montgomery Township municipal complex in October 2020.

In response to the announcement, Montgomery Mayor Devra Keenan said: “It was a true honor and pleasure to serve on the Montgomery Township Committee with Sadaf Jaffer as mayor. Sadaf’s ability to bring people together to solve difficult problems will serve our district and the state of New Jersey very well.”


President of the Somerset County High School Democrats and Montgomery High School student Akshat Yalamarty also spoke with The Montgomery News about Jaffer's candidacy. He stated: “Sadaf Jaffer is an amazing elected official who is determined to help her constituents. Her work with young people inspires and motivates many to participate in civic engagement. She is a role model and mentor for many of Montgomery’s youth and will be a voice for everybody in the assembly.”


Jaffer outlines her "Prosperity and Justice for All" platform on her website and Facebook page. It includes creating green jobs, pursuing an equitable economic recovery, promoting civil and human rights, and empowering an inclusive public health approach to COVID-19.


Jaffer was the first South Asian woman to serve as mayor in New Jersey and the first Muslim woman to serve as mayor in the United States. If elected to Assembly, she would be the first Asian American woman as well as the first Muslim American to serve in the New Jersey Legislature.

Jaffer and her family with Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker at her swearing-in ceremony to Montgomery Township Committee in 2018.

Jaffer is a postdoctoral research associate in South Asian Studies at Princeton University, where she teaches courses on South Asian, Islamic, and Asian American Studies. She holds a bachelor's degree from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and a Ph.D. from Harvard University’s Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations.