The primary election is right around the corner, on Tuesday June 2nd, and Democratic candidate Julie Blake will be on the Hopewell Township ballot running for the chance to run in the general election for a seat on the Township Committee, against now-Republican Hopewell Township Mayor Harvey Lester.
In January, MercerMe asked a series of questions to Mayor Lester as he took the seat as Township mayor. And now Committee-hopeful Blake has answered the same set to share her thoughts and concerns about Township issues.
What do you view as the most important issues facing the Township for 2015?
I believe that the most important issues facing the Township involve defending our water and our environment, safeguarding our finances, and honoring our history and our character. I am concerned about the increases in spending in this year’s budget. The PennEast pipeline poses an unacceptable threat to both our water supply and our taxpayer funded open space. We need to address the recent court ruling on affordable housing in order to protect areas like West Scotch Road from over development.
What do you most look forward to in your term as a Committee member?
I will listen to the community and bring practical and thoughtful decision making to the committee. Serving on any type of committee, whether a school committee or a Township committee, requires one not only to listen to the ideas of community members, but also to work collaboratively, to really think about how to establish priorities and put them into action. The only way to make a positive and lasting impact is to recognize that all decisions need to be based on facts and rooted in common sense, and that the decision making process itself must be transparent and open to public input.
What do you view as special about Hopewell Township?
You are right, Hopewell Township is a special place. Although we are close to two major metropolitan areas, we have a proud rural and historic tradition. It’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve been. There is something about the beauty of our environment that makes the community warm and welcoming.
How do you think your personal and professional background make you uniquely qualified to serve as a committee member?
I have worked in public service for over 20 years. My experience in education has been focused on setting goals and planning for the future. I believe that listening to my students and their families and working for their success will help me in local government. I know how to work with individuals and institutions to get things done.
Name something people would be surprised to find out about you.
I love action movies. As a mother’s day gift, my family always takes me to see the latest blockbuster.
What do you do on a typical morning on the weekend?
I drink coffee, read the paper, and go for a walk with friends in Mercer Meadows.
What are some of your favorite places to eat/hike/shop in the Township?
I live right next to the Lawrence Hopewell Trail. I try to get out there as often as possible and in every season. If I want something farther afield, I hike the Ted Stiles Preserve at Baldpate Mountain, which is especially beautiful this time of year. I think It’s Nutts is a great place after a morning biking on the towpath. And the great highlight of each week in the summer is picking my share of vegetables at Honey Brook Organic Farm.
Note: MercerMe publisher Mary Galioto is the Hopewell Borough Democratic Municipal Chairperson.