(TRENTON) – Former Tenafly Councilwoman Shama Haider took the oath of office from Speaker Pro Tempore Benjie Wimberly on Tuesday to become a member of the New Jersey State General Assembly.
Born and raised in Pakistan, Assemblywoman Haider received her Bachelor of Science from the University of Punjab. During her time at the university, she emerged as an activist and joined with other students to protest against the country’s military dictatorship. Upon moving to Tenafly in 1977, Haider initiated her fundraising career and ultimately became Development Director of Arts Horizon, a non-profit educational organization that focuses on funding arts programs for schools and serves over 300,000 children.
During the ceremony, Speaker Pro Tempore Wimberly stood in for Assembly Speaker Craig J. Coughlin, who participated remotely while quarantining due to COVID-19.
“Shama will be an invaluable asset in the Assembly and in the coming session,” said Speaker Coughlin (D-Middlesex). ”With such an extensive political and professional career centered on issues important to women and children, I am confident she will help us in our work to improve the lives of New Jersey families.”
While living in Tenafly, Assemblywoman Haider has become an active member of her community by participating in local committees, parent-teacher associations, and serving as a Councilwoman. Additionally, Haider has served on the Bergen County Commission on the Status of Women, Bergen County Human Services Advisory Council, and as a Trustee of LRBT America, a non-profit that raises funds to fight blindness and provide free medical services to the poor.
“I am thankful that the residents in the 37th district have elected my running mate and me to represent them in Trenton,” said Haider (D-Bergen). “As a new state legislator, I am excited to work on diversity and cultural issues, but more importantly, be a voice for the people of Bergen County. While I am honored to be one of the first Muslim Americans elected to the legislature in New Jersey, my focus is to be recognized as a legislator for all and work together to better the lives of every New Jerseyan.”
Assemblywoman Haider represents the 37th Legislative District which includes the Bergen County municipalities of Alpine, Bogota, Cresskill, Englewood, Englewood Cliffs, Fort Lee, Hackensack, Leonia, Northvale, Palisades Park, Rockleigh, Teaneck, and Tenafly.