Jaffer Running for LD16 Assembly Seat

Candidate Jaffer with her daughter.

Dr. Sadaf Jaffer, the former mayor of Montgomery, has decided to run for an Assembly seat in the 16th Legislative district.

The Democrat sent a letter out that contains the following:

I am excited to announce that I am seeking the Democratic nomination for the New Jersey General Assembly in Legislative District 16.

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.

As mayor, I focused on improved engagement, communication, and trust within the community. My signature initiatives included: creating and implementing a robust crisis communications plan to help Montgomery Township maintain some of the lowest COVID-19 infection and fatality rates in New Jersey; facilitating a participatory planning and design process for the Township’s new municipal center and library; 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.

Representation matters and I was proud to encourage increased civic engagement and participation from diverse communities as 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, I would be the first Asian American woman as well as the first Muslim American to serve in the New Jersey Legislature. It is time we include all voices and perspectives in the policymaking process.

My academic research and teaching at Princeton University focuses on South Asia, Muslim societies, and Asian American communities. In addition to my experience in local government, I have also worked for the federal government at the US Department of State and the US Marine Corps. I hold a Bachelor of Science degree from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and a Ph.D. from Harvard University’s Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations.

My education and experience provide me with local, historical, and global expertise that informs my research-based approach to problem solving.

Thank you and I hope I can count on your support and your vote. I look forward to learning more about your goals for our district and our state as we work together to build a better future.




Mayor Devra Keenan, Montgomery Township: 

“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.”


Mayor Liz Lempert, Princeton (served 2013-2020):

“Sadaf’s invaluable frontline experience as a mayor will make her a strong voice for every single resident and town in our district and across the state. She understands the financial pressures and the needs of working families today. As a neighboring mayor, I had the opportunity to work together with Sadaf on addressing the COVID pandemic at the local level, managing our municipal budgets given the economic downturn, and strengthening social justice efforts in our communities. If you believe, as I do, that we need a breath of fresh air in Trenton, I hope you will join me in supporting this smart, thoughtful woman of action to represent us.”


Committeeperson Shelly Bell, Montgomery Township:

“I am excited and proud to endorse my friend and colleague Sadaf Jaffer, a transformational voice for opportunity, justice, and equality, serving as a leader in Montgomery Township. She shows up prepared to ask the right questions and has shown time and time again and she can get things done. I know with her in the NJ Assembly that LD16 will have an accountable, compassionate leader with the courage and conviction to make the people’s voices heard.”


Akshat Yalamarty, President of the Somerset County High School Democrats:

“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”


Donnetta Bishop-Johnson, Founder of the Hillsborough Music Festival and Commissioner on the Somerset County Cultural Arts and Heritage Commission:

“I met Dr. Jaffer three years ago when I presented at an event she organized to ensure adolescents and adults with intellectual and emotional impairments receive appropriate care and treatment from Montgomery’s police department in crisis situations. With progressive, pragmatic and proactive approaches to problem solving, she is a proven leader with impressive accomplishments as Montgomery Township mayor. Under her courageous, intelligent and visionary leadership, Montgomery has become a more responsive and inclusive township with a strong focus on economic, environmental, educational, racial and social equity and justice.”


Azra Baig, Chairwoman of the South Brunswick Human Relations Commission:

“She has broken some glass ceilings being the first South Asian woman elected as mayor in New Jersey and the first Muslim woman mayor in the entire United States. She has advocated for women to be more politically engaged be it at a local level speaking at the South Brunswick Commission on Women’s Leadership Conference or on a national level speaking at South Asians For Biden and Muslims For Biden events. Dr. Sadaf Jaffer is an exceptional individual to take on this role.”





Create Green Jobs and Pursue an Equitable Economic Recovery

  • Promote “New Jersey Innovation,” “Jersey Grown,” and “Made in New Jersey” initiatives and infrastructures.
  • Municipal and county governments need recovery funding and support.
  • Provide more state funding to education in order to lessen property tax burden.
  • Extend unemployment insurance to help those who are out of work and provide more resources to help people navigate the unemployment system.
  • Provide a green recovery package for businesses and entrepreneurs. LD-16 is an ideal location to promote and support an innovation economy.


Promote Civil and Human Rights

  • Mandate living wages, safe working conditions, and fair schedules for workers.
  • End immigrant detention.
  • Provide resources, training, and clear consequences for those who exacerbate racist disparities in healthcare. As a mother, I am keenly aware of the stark racial disparities in maternal outcomes and dedicated to addressing them.
  • Require law enforcement agencies to recruit diverse candidates including women and minorities to trust and collaboration with all members of the community.
  • Provide resources to help diversify applicant pools in the workforce.
  • Enact legislation to ensure employment protection for workers who are pregnant.


Empower an Inclusive Public Health Approach to COVID-19

  • Scientists and public health professionals in collaboration with educators and politicians should lead our COVID-19 response.
  • Improve state-wide strategy for equitable vaccine production and distribution.
  • Ensure teachers and other front-line workers are prioritized for vaccination, continued testing, and PPE distribution.
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