To the Editor:
My name is Julie Blake, and I am proud to be the Democratic candidate for the Hopewell Township Committee.
My husband and I moved here with our two young children in 1999. In Hopewell Township, we found an affordable home in an excellent school district. We have raised our son and daughter here and have grown to love all that Hopewell offers.
I have worked in education for over 20 years and have taught students from the 6th grade through college. In 2007, I began working as a high school counselor in Hunterdon County. Everyday I work with students and their families to help them navigate the transition to adulthood. This means providing students with resources and a safe place to learn.
In 2015, voters elected me to the Hopewell Township Committee, and it has been a great honor to spend the last three years working to ensure that our community continues to be an inviting and more affordable place to live. With the help of countless community members and township professionals, we have found way to safeguard our finances, protect our environment, and improve public safety.
In 2015, the Township hit Hopewell residents with a 5% increase in their taxes. My campaign focused on keeping our taxes low and being careful stewards of our public funds. Three years later, I am happy to report that we have kept tax increases to below a 2% average.
As a working mother, I understand why many consider leaving the community after their children have completed their education. It’s expensive to live here. Many of these families, like mine, don’t want to leave. We have enjoyed watching the Halloween parades, riding bikes in Rosedale Park, and chatting in the shade at Kunkel Park while waiting for art projects to dry. We like buying our corn at a local farm stand and wandering around the Hopewell Harvest Fair and seeing old friends. When we hike on Baldpate Mountain or stroll along the D & R canal, we feel lucky to live here. Part of my role on the Hopewell Township Committee is protecting both the beauty and affordability of the township so that families can continue having these experiences. We’ve made good strides, but our work is not complete.
As your Deputy Mayor and an experienced Hopewell Township Committee member, I know the kind of leadership we need to keep spending low, to meet state and federal mandates, and to provide services to our residents. During my term, we have continued the fight against the PennEast Pipeline, preserved Open Space, kept tax increases to a minimum, and decreased our debt by over 15%. We have negotiated deals that will bring over $100 million in new revenues to the Township over the next three decades, without burdening existing taxpayers. We have taken major steps to enhance our community.
I am a lifelong Democrat and am proud to come from a family with a tradition of service. My mother served her community as a social worker and teacher and my father served as a pilot in the Navy. I learned the values of honesty, collaboration, and service from both of them, values I will continue to bring to representing all residents of Hopewell Township.
We all know how important it is to vote on November 6th. We know how important it is to elect leaders who listen and lead.
We live and work together and every voice counts. I am committed to keeping Hopewell Township affordable, welcoming, and green.
I ask for your vote on November 6th.