Jersey-boy mayor will work to unite nations
American’s election to civic role is an English record breaker
Maidstone is soon to set a new civic record by becoming the first English borough to elect an American as mayor.
Cllr Dave Naghi, who has been a borough councillor for the past 16 years, is of Romanian and English heritage, but was born in the States.
His mother Ena Smith was brought up in Queen’s Avenue, Maidstone, and attended West Borough School.
His father was Alex Naghi, who fled Romania at the start of the Second World War. He lived in Scotland until the war ended. Unable to return home because his native country had ended up in the Communist bloc, he moved to Tovil.
Cllr Naghi’s parents married and initially lived in Boxley Road.
But in February 1954, they emigrated to America, settling in Trenton, New Jersey, where Cllr Naghi and his younger brother Robert were both born as American citizens.
After seven years, Mrs Naghi grew homesick and in 1961 the family moved back to Maidstone and a house in Queen’s Road.
Cllr Naghi is due to be made mayor at the start of the next civic year in May, and hopes his mayoralty will help strengthen ties between the two countries.
There have been times when being a Jersey Boy has been a disadvantage. He said: “When I went on a school football trip to Belgium, I couldn’t go on the group passport because I was an American citizen.
“On the way back, at Dover, I couldn’t go through the same passport controls, and by the time I did get through, the other boys had all got on the train and gone, leaving me behind.”
A year later, Cllr Naghi became a naturalised British citizen.
“It’s strange dual existence,” he said. “Whenever I travel to America to visit my brother who lives there, they always consider I’m British because of my accent.
“But here, I find whenever I’m in the pub and the Americans start bombing somewhere, I get it in the neck for being American.”
Dave Naghi will be the town’s first Am erican Mayor