To the Editor:
I have had the privilege of working with Julie Blake on the Township Committee since January. Julie is smart, hard-working and devoted to making Hopewell Township a better place for all of us. She is also one of the nicest people I know.
I first met Julie at Pennington Day in May, 2015, when she was campaigning before the June primary. I was impressed that she spent a day talking to voters when the primary was uncontested. She did not have to do that, but Julie wanted to hear what was on the minds of voters.
That’s Julie. She listens to people. And when she disagrees, she will let you know with a well-reasoned argument.
Every year the Township spends several months working on a budget. It’s a long, detailed process, and the decisions affect all of us. For some time, the Township faced budgeting issues regarding, of all things, road salt. When we have lots of winter storms, we need lots of salt. When we have a light winter, we need less salt. Salt costs money and none of us can predict how much we will need. If the Township budgets too much, that is money that cannot be used for other purposes. If the Township budgets too little, the budget must be cut somewhere. In 2016, Julie came up with the idea of proposing a salt emergency fund where the Township would allocate a certain amount of money each year. If there is a bad winter and we need lots of salt, there is a reserve we can use to pay for it.
That’s Julie. She studies issues and comes up with solutions.
In 2017, there was considerable talk about making Hopewell Township a fair and welcoming community. It would have been easy for Julie to simply agree with the proposal. But Julie realized that any discussion about this proposal had to involve our Police Department. She spoke with officers about their policies regarding undocumented immigrants and held several public work sessions with the police so everyone in the community could educate themselves on the law and best practices. The result was a careful, nuanced resolution that follows federal and state laws while affirming the rights of all Hopewell residents.
That’s Julie. She does her homework and finds consensus.
I greatly admire Julie. Please join me and thousands of Township residents in re-electing Julie Blake for Township Committee on November 6.
Note: Michael Ruger is a member of the Hopewell Township Committee. He is speaking for himself and not on behalf of the Township Committee.