Sikh mayor charms Hoboken, elected unopposed


Ravinder Singh Bhalla swears on a Sikh prayer book for second term mayor of Hoboken – Photo: Personal Facebook

By Asia Samachar Team | United States |

Ravinder Singh Bhalla made history again when he was reelected unopposed as the Hoboken mayor this time around.

When he first ran for the post in 2017, his campaign encountered racial undertones, including a doctored campaign fliers attacking him with the message “Don’t let TERRORISM take over our town!”

That seems to have fizzled far away. Four years later, the fourth densest city in the country has elected him unopposed for a new four-year term. The 47-year-old lawyer was sworn in yesterday (2 Jan 2021).

“It is the honor of a lifetime to be sworn in for a second term as Hoboken Mayor. I’m looking forward to the next four years as we continue to make Hoboken an even better place to live. Thank you to my family and all of the supporters who have been a part of this journey. I know that for Hoboken, the best is yet to come.

“I was sworn in today with my hand on the Gutka, a book of Sikh scriptures and spiritual hymns, as I was four years ago, with my wife, kids and extended family by my side,” he said in a social media entry.

When first elected in 2017, he become the United States’ only directly elected turbaned Sikh mayor.

His younger brother, Amardeep Singh, a vice president at Proteus Fund, was elated to see how in four years, his ‘calm, hard-working, different looking introvert’ brother went from ‘Mr. Unelectable’ to ‘Mr. Unopposed.’

“Who would have thought that a self-described introvert, who likes to listen more than talk, who absorbed a racist whisper campaign about being “unelectable” because of his turban, and whose parents began their journey in this country in a trailer park, would not only win re-election but be the first Mayor in 64 years to run unopposed in Hoboken,” he said in a separate social media entry.

Ravi, as he’s known amongst his friends, was born and raised in New Jersey. He lived in a two-bedroom apartment with his parents and older brother in West Paterson, about 45 minutes outside of New York City. He played tennis growing up and was an all-state doubles player his senior year in high school. He was also president of his local Junior State of America chapter – a youth organization that focuses on public issues. See Born to Run.

He then went to University of California, Berkeley. After Berkeley, Bhalla earned his masters at the London School of Economics, before returning to the U.S. for law school at Tulane University in New Orleans.

One for the album: Ravinder Singh Bhalla and family after swearing in as Hoboken mayor – Photo: Personal Facebook

Cutting the ribbon with Mayor Bhalla and former Mayor Dawn Zimmer at the grand opening of the 7th and Jackson Resiliency Park in 2019 – Photo:


Ravi Bhalla becomes N.J.’s first Sikh mayor (Asia Samachar, 8 Nov 2017)

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  1. To be clear, we don’t really like Ravi here in Hoboken. We actually can’t wait for him to leave and have an active investigation into his relations with the planned BOE referendum.