- A progressive Democrat and rising star in the party, the Pakistani American told party leaders of her decision on Jan. 16.
New Jersey Assemblywoman and former Montgomery Township Mayor Sadaf Jaffer wants to focus on her work in higher education and spend some more time with her family. And to do that, the Pakistani American will not seek reelection this fall.
A progressive Democrat and rising star in the party, Jaffer was the first South Asian woman mayor in New Jersey and the first Pakistani American woman mayor in the U.S. She serves as a postdoctoral research associate in South Asian studies at Princeton University, where she teaches courses on South Asian, Islamic and Asian-American studies.
She earned her bachelor’s degree from Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and obtained her Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations with a secondary field in Studies of Women, Gender and Sexuality from Harvard University.
Last year, Jaffer, along with Shama Haider, former chair of the Democratic Party in Tenafly, became the first Muslim Americans elected to the New Jersey Legislature. Haider won her first term seat in the 37th legislative district. Jaffer was elected from the 16th district.
Jaffer told party leaders of her decision on Jan. 16, according to a Politico report.
“Elected office is a public service that I’ve been proud to have engaged in at the local and state level,” Jaffer told American Kahani. “We all have to weigh our responsibilities and commitments and since it was time to submit paperwork to run for re-election, I thought through the options and decided it was best for me and my family for me not to run for re-election at this time.”
Jaffer, however, is not completely closing all political engagements. “My goal has always been to be a positive force in my community in whatever form that might take,” she said. “My work in higher education also serves the public good and I’m looking forward to focusing more in that arena.” When asked about a return to politics at some point in the future, she replied: “Anything is possible.”
While it’s unclear who will replace Jaffer on the Democratic ticket, Somerset County Democratic Chair Peg Schaffer told Politico that she’d prefer “a Somerset County resident, since state Sen. Andrew Zwicker lives in the Middlesex County portion of the district.” And since “the Senate seat belongs to Middlesex,” Schaffer said she hopes they “retain another Assembly seat.”