Manaksha Memon looks at a brilliant political career
Sabina Zafar for Mayor San Ramon has done very well in politics in America and is now aiming at the credible political office of mayor of San Ramon. Sabina Zafar was born and raised in Pakistan and comes from a family of political leaders. Her earliest political inspiration was her father, Raja Shahid Zafar, who served as a federal minister in the cabinet of Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. She met Benazir Bhutto on several occasions who inspired her immensely as a woman leader and served as a role model. Sabina Zafar moved to the US in her early twenties 27 years ago and graduated with a degree in Computer and Information Sciences and has been working in technology for the last 14 years. She has lived in Alabama, Arizona and California. She has raised both her children now 17 and 12 in San Ramon and has been an active member of the PTA.
Sabina Zafar decided to enter politics 7-8 years ago when she was working with MP Eric Swalwell. She took training for the election of Democrat women, which included about 40 women. Sabina’s career path provided her with many opportunities for growth. After graduation, she worked for a year with Southwest Alabama Mental Health where she built and established an electronic patient check-in form system. She moved to Scottsdale, Arizona in 2003 where she started her own web design company which allowed her to work at home while raising her two young children. She moved to San Ramon, California in 2006 and began work at an Edtech company in 2007. Over the next ten years, Sabina worked with several companies and across several verticals including healthcare, financials, advertisement, publishing, gaming, manufacturing, oil & gas and power.
Sabina Zafar’s rising profile was recognised when she was voted the Vice Mayor of San Ramon. In November 2019, she was appointed vice mayor for the next year by unanimous vote by her fellow council members, tasking her with taking up mayoral duties in the event that Clarkson is unable to do so. Sabina Zafar was in her second year on the San Ramon City Council, a time that she said she dedicated toward building a more inclusive and transparent government, with a focus on effectively using technology to further civic priorities — policies she plans to continue to expand upon as mayor. During her two years on the council she has represented the city on a variety of local and regional committees including the Innovation and Technology Advisory Committee, Economic Development Advisory Committee, San Ramon’s Street Smarts board, Iron Horse Trail Advisory Committee and Dublin San Ramon Services District liaison, to name a few.
Under Sabina’s leadership and with the support of the Council, San Ramon established an Innovation and Technology Advisory Committee to advise the Council on how best to use technology for inclusion and how to better serve our citizens. More residents are engaged in the decisions the Council makes, resulting in an increased awareness and understanding of city issues. In addition to encouraging the use of technology to open more channels of communication, Sabina has been engaged in outreach to all residents of San Ramon and has promoted multi-cultural engagement, including building community through celebrations of our diversity and proclamations. Sabina Zafar has made alleviating congestion on major traffic corridors a top priority. She will continue to explore smart city initiatives to collect traffic plan data and plan accordingly and advocate at the regional level for transportation improvements.
Through Sabina’s request to the City Manager, San Ramon has launched the “Idle Free” campaign to help create cleaner air in our community. The initiative educates residents on the harmful effects to air quality caused by car idling and encourages people to turn off the car engine if they are idling in the car for more than 30 seconds. During COVID-19 several local small businesses contacted Sabina about their frustration in navigating the CARES federal loan program. Sabina raised this with the City Manager, who brought before the council a recommendation for a program provided by the city for free, to assist San Ramon businesses and non-profits with accessing available resources offered by the state and federal governments. So far the program has helped more than 40 San Ramon businesses and more than 500 San Ramon residents.
Sabina provided internships to high school students through her office and through her campaign. Mentoring the young citizens of San Ramon and involving them early in civic engagement through exposure to local government has been an important priority for Sabina. Under Sabina’s leadership and with the support of the Council, San Ramon established an Innovation and Technology Advisory Committee to advise the Council on how best to use technology for inclusion and how to better serve our citizens. More residents are engaged in the decisions the Council makes, resulting in an increased awareness and understanding of city issues. TW