LTE: John, Don, and a better option

To the Editor:

There’s a municipal election in Hopewell Township on November 5, and it’s a chance to speak up for the values we’re all told are at stake at the top of the ticket in 2020.

Aren’t we tired of the way the president treats those who don’t agree with him, and of the entanglements between business and governance?

Unfortunately, it’s happening here in Hopewell Township, and it’s personified in Township Committeeman John Hart.

In late 2018, from the committee dais, Mr. Hart interrupted a resident holding him to account for his words, saying, “You don’t know s— about me,” and later threatening that resident in the gallery with removal from the meeting. 

At the 2019 budget approval meeting, he called a group of residents a “cheering audience.” He used the 2019 reorganization meeting to call those in attendance a “house of Democrats.” These are people Mr. Hart is supposed to represent, not because of party affiliation but because they live in our community.

In May 2019, when our Public Works Department bought supplies elsewhere, Mr. Hart complained that “the town I work for, they can’t go buy their stuff over there,” at the store he owns and where the Township also regularly spends money. In July 2019, he said, “You get 3,000 homes here and everyone’s got a dog or a cat, I’m happy,” so those new customers could buy supplies at his business. 

Three years ago, our community told the soon-to-be president, by a margin of about two-to-one, that Hopewell Township doesn’t want him representing our country. 

So, the question is this: Why would we vote for in our own community what we rejected for our country?

The good news is that we have another option, and a far better option. Kristin McLaughlin, through her three years on the Hopewell Township Committee, and Courtney Peters-Manning, through her time on the Planning Board, know that leadership means hearing with respect those who have concerns, not berating them for using the voice our democracy gives them. They know that your right to be heard depends not on the D, R, U or other letter on your voter registration, it comes with you being a member of this community, 18,000 strong, and with expectations that cross all party lines, from clean water to drink to our kids growing up healthy to the dollars that our hard work produces being used responsibly once we hand them over to the municipal government.

They believe that when you serve our community, that when you ascend those few steps to sit behind the Township Committee dais, it’s not about them, it’s about us.

Is that belief really, honestly shared by John Hart? 

On November 5, let our values guide our votes for the Township Committee, returning the leadership of Kristin McLaughlin and adding that of Courtney Peters-Manning. 

Andrew Borders,

Hopewell Township

Borders is a member of the Hopewell Township Zoning Board but writes as an individual resident.

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