Naushad Kermally is First Muslim to Win Sugar Land City Council Seat

BY POOJA SALHOTRA

SUGAR LAND: With encouragement from his wife Narmin and support from his three children, Naushad Kermally decided six months ago to run for Sugar Land City Council. After an arduous journey involving dozens of volunteers, around the clock block-walking and non-stop phone banking, Kermally emerged victorious in the District 2 run-off election on Saturday, becoming the first Muslim City Council member in Sugar Land.

“No words can describe how I feel right now,” Kermally said to his supporters soon after the early voting results came in on Saturday. “This is not about Naushad. This is about the love for the City of Sugar Land first and foremost.”

Kermally was speaking to a cheering crowd of about 150 supporters at an election watch party held at Fernando’s on Saturday. At the time, Kermally had enough of a lead in early voting for officials to call it a win. And minutes later, the final numbers arrived, announcing that Kermally had defeated his opponent Nabila Mansoor with 57.26% of the 3,163 votes.

Saturday’s election was a runoff following an initial election in May. In that first contest, Kermally led the polls in a three-man race against Mansoor along with another candidate, David Gomet. The District 2 race was the only Sugar Land election that resulted in a runoff, so both Mansoor and Kermally were focusing their efforts on driving voters back out to the polls.

Kermally credits his loyal team of family members, friends and volunteers for helping bring out voters and secure a win. He called out his in-laws, for example, who helped drive people who needed transportation to the polls on Saturday morning; he thanked his son Aaron who, along with three friends, hung door hangers on 8000 plus homes across the New Territory, Telfair and River Park neighborhoods; and he thanked his three female “CEOs” — his sister, Anar Gulamali, his sister-in-law Mina Kermally and his wife Narmin Kermally. He called these three ladies the “spines to keep me straight,” the “femurs to keep me upright” and the root of his energetic campaign.

For members of the Ismaili Muslim community, Kermally’s win felt especially significant. Although Sugar Land the city with the highest concentration of Asians in Texas, the City Council does not always reflect that. Kermally is the first Muslim to serve on the City Council in Sugar Land, which is the home to the national headquarters for the Ismaili Council for the United States.

“Sometimes, as a minority community, there are certain things for which we might not go to the City Council, for instance if there are issues with neighborhood crime,” said Sherali Haiderali, a Sugar Land resident who volunteered on Kermally’s campaign. “Now, I think people might have more confidence knowing that there is someone who can listen to us and understand our issues.”

While Naushad did highlight the support he received from his Ismaili Muslim community, he also emphasized that he has run an inclusive campaign and will continue to serve as a representative for people of all backgrounds. He even thanked his opponent for running and said he hopes to meet with her in the future.

“Whether you’re Hindu, African American, Chinese, it doesn’t matter, I want to represent you and I will represent every citizen of District 2,” Kermally said. “I will be a voice for all of us.”
Kermally began his career as a Trauma and Critical Care nurse and later transitioned to business. He now serves as the Vice President of Prime Communications. He has lived in Sugar Land for the past 23 years, during which he sent his three kids through Sugar Land public schools and engaged with the community by serving on the Ethics Review Board, completing the Citizens Police Academy and taking on other voluntary roles. These positions were always leading up to an ultimate City Council run.

“He’s always had a passion to serve, whether it be in the Ismaili community or the community at large,” Narmin Kermally said.

Kermally is filling Bridget Yeung’s seat on the council. He will be sworn in during a public ceremony on Tuesday, June 18 at 5:30 p.m.

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