To the Editor:
Another October, another underwhelming Republican performance at the League of Women Voters’ Candidates Forum on Tuesday October 16. Largely absent on the campaign trail, the Republican candidate Ed “Jack” Jackowski showed up for the debate and read his prepared remarks. Unfortunately for him, his response to the moderator’s questions revealed his lack of preparation for a position on the Hopewell Township Committee.
Hopewell voters saw the same thing last year when the Republican candidates tried to bluff their way through questions they knew nothing about. Jackowski was no different as he showed minimal knowledge of municipal budgets and proposed that taxes on homeowners could somehow pay the $190 million it would cost the township to build state-mandated affordable housing units on its own. Did he mean what he was saying?
The key to the evening came when the other Republican candidate was reading a question and the irrepressible Harvey Lester bellowed from the back of the audience. Whether he was berating the moderator or illicitly coaching the Republican candidates did not really matter. This was Lester pushing his way into the Forum, making sure that everyone understood that the question was actually his. In this case, pride of authorship out-foxed political strategy.
Jackowski seems to be a good sport in running for an office he probably doesn’t want. With less than three weeks to go before the election, his voice has been silent. Do we even know what he stands for or what his plans for the Township are? If he has little interest in working for our votes, he probably has less interest in the business of running the township itself.
The man who seems most committed to Jackowski’s campaign is Harvey Lester. Three years ago, Lester lost his seat on the township committee to Julie Blake, and since then, he reminds us weekly how bitter he is about the defeat. Two letters from Lester in the October 17 edition of the Hopewell Valley News and none again from Jackowski!
The moderator posed lots of questions to the candidates on Wednesday night, but the most urgent question was left unstated. Is a vote for Jack Jackowski really just a vote for Harvey Lester in disguise? Readers will remember that in 2015 Lester notoriously switched parties to become mayor. The evening left me wondering: could Jackowski be Lester’s way of getting into power again?