- Along with running mate Ellen Park, she is among the first-ever Asian American women to serve in the legislature.
Pakistani American Shama Haider, chair of the Democratic Party in Tenafly, New Jersey has won her first term seat to the state Assembly from the 37th legislative district. She and Ellen Park of Englewood Cliffs “handily defeated their Republican challengers, Edward Durfee of Northvale and Perley Patrick of Teaneck,” northjersey.com reported. B
Both Haider and Park were among the first-ever Asian American women to serve in the legislature. They ran on a ticket with Assemblyman Gordon Johnson (D-Englewood) who was elected to the 37th legislative district’s Senate seat. “The victory places a capstone on a contentious year in the 37th, which includes 13 Bergen County towns and is viewed as reliably liberal — registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans by about 3 to 1,” the northjersey.com report said.
“Congrats to my mother, Shama Haider, elected to New Jersey State assembly,” tweeted her son, Ali Haider, an interventional and structural cardiologist.” The first Muslim or Pakistani ever in NJ!”
The Pakistan-born Haider was previously elected to the governing body of her town as a councilwoman and has run for mayor While she was a councilwoman, Haider was the chair of the Tenafly Environmental Commission — initiating the first environmental resource inventory for Tenafly.
She serves on the Bergen County (New Jersey) Commission on the Status of Women and Bergen County Human Services Advisory Council, and she is chair of the Tenafly Business Development Committee. She is a Trustee of LRBT America, a non-profit that raises funds to fight blindness and provide free medical services to the poor.
Before emigrating to the U.S., Haider was secretary to the First Lady of Pakistan, where she was responsible for the implementation and execution of policy for the office of the first lady at the national and international levels.