Letter to the Editor: Julie Blake Seeks Reelection in Hopewell Township

Julie Blake

In seeking re-election to the Hopewell Township Committee, I want to explain why I believe listening is such an important part of leadership.  Meeting with community members helps me learn what works and doesn’t work. From interacting with the police to presenting a plan to the Zoning Board, I believe that we need to hear from you on how to make each experience as fair and streamlined as possible.

As a member of the Hopewell Township Committee for the past three years, I have had the privilege of listening to many members of the community.  First Responders have told me about the strength of our volunteer services. Through the work of the Municipal Alliance, I have learned about the protective factors needed to prevent opioid abuse such as access to mental health resources.  As a result, I have called a series of meeting with representatives from Emergency Services and a wide range of service providers on how best to serve our community and particularly our aging community.

After listening to our seniors about their desire for a new Senior and Community center, I visited several centers and worked with our other municipal and county partners to plan for a new center.  After hearing residents’ concerns about water quality, I met with representatives from Trenton Water Works to express those concerns, pushed for and got our local water tested, and continue to hold the utility accountable.  Professionals from the Water Works came to answer questions about Hopewell’s water on October 10th from 7-9 pm at Stony Brook Elementary School.

In response to other conversations, I have led and attended public meetings about traffic safety around the Pennington Circle and the impact of storm related damage to our roads and to our utilities.  I have led smaller targeted meetings including one with local church members who wanted to discuss signage in their neighborhood. I have visited individuals in their homes when they have been concerned about their personal safety or the impact of development on their homes.

Some of the most powerful conversations have come with the many organizations working to better our sense of community. I have attended numerous meetings of the Hopewell Valley Race and Diversity Discussion Group to learn about our neighbors’ varied experiences in this community.  In my role as Safety Liaison, I have brought the police together with residents who inquired about police practices. Working with community and church groups, I led a series of police presentations on their de-escalation and use of force tactics. As a public servant, I not only listen carefully, but I also understand that an essential part of leadership is bringing people together.

A people-centered approach is essential to public service. I am proud of my conversations with so many people in our community and our collective commitment to not only to protecting what we have in Hopewell Valley, but to make it even better for the future.

I ask for your vote on November 6th.

Julie Blake

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