New Jersey swears in its first Sikh, Indian American woman mayor
By Bryan Ke
January 10, 2024
New Jersey has sworn in its first Sikh and Indian American woman mayor in Montgomery Township.
Election: Neena Singh, a resident of Montgomery for 24 years — and its previous deputy mayor — was sworn in during the Montgomery Township Reorganization Meeting last Thursday. She won the election after being unanimously voted by fellow township committee members.
Outgoing Mayor Devra Keenan and committee member Patricia Taylor Todd, who was also sworn into her first term, nominated Singh for the position. Vincent Barragan, another township committee member, will be Montgomery’s first Latinx deputy mayor.
What she’s saying: Singh said Thursday’s event was a “historic moment” for the community and New Jersey at large, as per MyCentralJersey. She thanked committee members for their support and praised the community for “breaking barriers and showing our state what inclusive, transparent and forward-thinking governance looks like.”
What they’re saying: U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and State Sen. Vin Gopal (D-NJ) congratulated Singh in video messages. “For every young South Asian girl growing up not just in Montgomery but across New Jersey, they’re going to have a true role model to look up to,” said Gopal, who is Indian American.
In a statement, Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), who administered Singh’s oath, said the new mayor has made her life’s work “fighting for social justice, economic opportunity and human rights for all.”
What’s next: Aside from public safety and health, among Singh’s priorities as mayor is to sign the Wellness Campaign pledge, which will come with multi-sectoral opportunities for improving quality of life. She said her goal for 2024 is to “ensure that our residents have the best possible resources, whether it’s community health, transportation, public spaces, municipal services or recreational activities.”
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