Home » Reappointed mayor aims to broaden women’s impact on local government

Reappointed mayor aims to broaden women’s impact on local government

by Amie Rukenstein

Courtney Peters-Manning, Hopewell Township deputy mayor in 2021, mayor in 2022, and deputy mayor in 2023, will be mayor once again in 2024. She also was recently named president of the Mercer County Federation of Democratic Women, ensuring that Hopewell Township will continue to benefit from Peters-Manning’s face-to-face approach to politics. We recently sat down with her to talk about her goals for both the Township and the MCFDW and the connection between the two. 

The MCFDW is a subset of the National Federation of Democratic Women, who are dedicated, per their website, to supporting each other and advancing Democratic political goals through networking, community activism, and engagement. Peters-Manning said that the specific intention of the Mercer County chapter is to “break down silos and encourage communication and relationships among elected officials and other politically involved Democratic women in Mercer County, with the ultimate goal of increasing the number of women elected to serve in all elected offices in Mercer County.”

Peters-Manning noted that, even though New Jersey is generally thought to be a progressive state, women still are very much the minority in government leadership positions, which is why groups like the Federation are needed. She said the following statistics underline how under-represented women are:

State and Local Level in 2023

Women in NJ Senate: 11 (28% of 40 seats)

Women in Assembly: 32 (40% of 80 seats)

Women County Executives (0/21)

Women County Commissioners 

NJ: 49 (36% of 135 Seats)

Mercer: 4/7, 57%

Women Mayors

NJ: 94 (17% of 565)

Mercer: 2  (16% of 12 Towns)

That number will change in 2024 with some help from Hopewell Township, where two women will have leadership positions: Peters-Manning as mayor and Uma Purandare as deputy mayor.  

Peters-Manning said that the more women there are in leadership positions in local government, the easier it is for the women acting in those jobs to get things done. “I believe life is relationships, so when you know people, when you have a problem, you know who to call,” she said. Through the Federation, she has developed deeper relationships with other women in government in Mercer County, which she said benefits all of their constituencies as they share ideas and strategies.  

Julie Blake, who was mayor in 2021 when Peters-Manning was deputy mayor, said she is happy to see Peters-Manning’s continued dedication to public service. “Courtney has proven to be so effective and such a strong leader, I’m glad that she is at the helm.” 

As to the Township, Peters Manning said she is energized to once again take up the gavel. “I am excited to get to work for the people of Hopewell Township as Mayor this year, alongside Deputy Mayor Uma Purandare and all of the Hopewell Township Committee.  We have a lot of exciting things to look forward to, from the groundbreaking on the Senior and Community Center. to the opening of the bandshell in Woolsey Park.  Further, our community partner BeiGene is set to open their flagship US research and development facility at the Innovation West Campus this year, where they will research and manufacture life-saving cancer medicine right here in Hopewell Township.”

For more information on the Mercer County Federation of Democratic Women, which meets the second Monday evening of the month, check out their Facebook page.  Peters-Manning also noted that the MCFDW’s annual event, the Eileen Thornton award, which this year will honor Elissa Grodd Schragger, who served as MCFDW President for more than seven years, will be held this coming Wednesday at TCNJ. For more information, click here.

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