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Montgomery Mayor Sadaf Jaffer with Gov. Phil Murphy. Photo: Facebook.

Montgomery mayor dropping re-election bid to focus on academic work

Local Democrats backing planning board member Shelly Bell for Sadaf Jaffer’s Township Committee seat

By Nikita Biryukov, September 03 2020 3:42 pm

Montgomery Mayor Sadaf Jaffer announced she was dropping her re-election bid to further pursue her academic career. Montgomery Democrats have endorsed planning board member Shelly Bell to take her place on the ticket.

“I am proud of my work in public service and I thank all those who have supported me in my efforts. At this time, I have made the difficult decision to shift gears and focus on my academic research, teaching, and publications,” Jaffer said. “I am delighted that the Montgomery Democratic Organization has endorsed Shelly Bell. I know that she shares the same commitment to community building that I do.”

Jafer, a postdoctoral research associate at Princeton University who holds a doctorate in near eastern languages and civilizations, became the first Muslim woman to hold a mayorship when Montgomery’s Township Committee appointed her to the position in 2019.

She first won a seat on the committee in 2017 and will hold her current position until her term ends in December.

Bell also served on the One Montgomery Committee, and as Vice-Chair of the Somerset County Commission on the Status of Women.

“I am motivated by the spirit of public service. I want to ensure we are good stewards for future generations including our children and grandchildren,” she said. “My educational background in counseling and governmental experience at local, state, and federal levels has prepared me well to serve in elected office. I am happy devoting my time and energy to our beloved community and I ask you for your vote to continue the progress we have made.”

She’s been endorsed by Deputy Mayor Marvin Schuldiner and faces independent Hossein Zolfaghari.

“I wholeheartedly support Shelly Bell’s candidacy for Township Committee,” Schuldiner said. “She will bring strength of character and depth of experience to this role.”

An earlier version of this story stated that the Democratic candidates were unopposed.  Hossein Zolfaghari is running as an independent.

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