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Assemblywoman Jaffer Announces Shaikh as First Muslim Woman Chief of Staff in NJ

Shaikh is the first Muslim woman to serve as a Chief of Staff in the State Legislature, and Jaffer is the first Muslim, Pakistani American and first Asian American woman to be sworn into the State Legislature.

By A Correspondent
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New Jersey Assemblywoman Sadaf Jaffer.

Assemblywoman Sadaf Jaffer (D-Somerset, Mercer, Middlesex, Hunterdon, NJ) has named Hira Shaikh as her Chief of Staff. Shaikh previously served as the Deputy Director for AAPI and Faith-Based Outreach for Murphy for Governor. Prior to this, she was a Principal at Kivvit, a New Jersey public affairs firm.

Shaikh is the first Muslim woman to serve as a Chief of Staff in the State Legislature, and Jaffer is the first Muslim and first Asian American woman to be sworn into the State Legislature.

“I am excited to have Hira join my team as Chief of Staff,” a statement issued by Assemblywoman Jaffer’s office quoted her as saying. “She brings leadership experience, a wealth of knowledge in strategic communications, and a passion for policies that serve under-represented communities. I look forward to working with her to serve our constituents in Legislative District 16.”

Jaffer and Shama Haider made history last November when they became the first Muslims and women of Pakistan origin who won the state assembly elections.

Jaffer teaches at Princeton University and has served two terms as Mayor of Montgomery Township, becoming the first South Asian American Woman elected Mayor in New Jersey. Both Jaffer and Haider earned high-profile endorsements of their candidacies. Among those who endorsed them included New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy.

“It is a privilege to work with someone who is not only a trailblazer, but amplifies the voices of those around her,” the statement quoted Shaikh as saying. “Assemblywoman Jaffer has a track record of fighting for research-based policies, and I look forward to helping her accomplish her legislative goals to benefit both Legislative District 16 and New Jerseyans from all walks of life.”

Shaikh cut her teeth managing public affairs campaigns at Kivvit, a firm based in Asbury Park. She also serves as the co-chair for the New Jersey Young Democrats South Asian Caucus. She joins Assemblywoman Jaffer at a historic time in the Legislature, where the state’s legislative AAPI caucus has doubled in size after the 2021 election.

Shaikh holds a bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University where she studied Political Science.

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