SPOTSWOOD, NJ - In the 112-year history of the borough, Spotswood has never had a female mayor. When Jackie Palmer first ran for mayor in 2016, she was the first female candidate to seek the office. Palmer finished second in the 2016 election to current Mayor Ed Seely. The longtime resident will once again be a mayoral candidate for the upcoming 2020 election on November 3. Palmer is running against current Spotswood Borough Councilman Larry Kraemer. Seely is not seeking re-election. Despite her loss four years ago, Palmer is ready to enter the campaign field this fall, declaring her intention to run.
"Spotswood is a great small community," Palmer said. "I have raised my children here and feel that our town can be even better. We need an administration that can provide strong leadership and be accountable to our residents. As a strong leader, I can provide the accountability and direction needed for our town to continue to be a place where people want to live and raise their families; a place that embraces the sense of community and allows for growth."
"My favorite thing about Spotswood," Palmer continued. "Is the people who live and work here. It is a close-knit community and being so small, your neighbors become your friends. As my children were growing up, I wouldn't have wanted to live anywhere else. The old saying about it taking a village to raise a child rang true even as today my neighbors/friends are a strong part of our 'family' to not only me, but my children as well."
Palmer has three sons ranging in age from 22 to 14. Her youngest began his high school career at St. Joseph's in Metuchen in September, following in the footsteps of his older brothers. All three boys attended Spotswood School District Schools through eighth grade. She is married and is a former borough business owner. Currently, Palmer is a freelance project manager for two major insurance companies. Throughout her 20 plus years as a resident, Palmer has been a Spotswood Soccer Club coach, a board member of the Spotswood Youth Baseball and Softball League as well as serving on the Spotswood Zoning Board, the Neighborhood Watch/Community Policing and was appointed by the mayor to be a part of the EMS Review Committee. She is also a past president of the Spotswood PTA. Palmer remains a life member of the Spotswood PTA and previously served as treasurer of the organization.
While Palmer has not held a public office, she feels she has a great deal to offer the borough as its next mayor if elected.
"As an experienced project manager with over 20 years of experience in human resources, leadership and management," Palmer said. "I bring the ability to not only see and manage the day-to-day details of running a municipality, but I can also see the 30,000-foot view to help identify gaps and challenges that are not always seen when working day to day in the details."
Palmer sees the borough's high taxes and the condition of Lake Devoe as two major issues impacting the borough in 2020.
"It is a challenge for small businesses to start up in Spotswood and grow," Palmer explained about other issues she feels are important locally. "We need a strong advocate to the county and state for the needs of Spotswood residents. We need to enhance our community communications and encourage resident involvement."
If Palmer succeeds in becoming the borough's first female mayor, her goals include addressing the borough's finances.
"The first order of business," Palmer said. "Is to restore fiscal responsibility to our borough. With continued increases in taxes and extensive municipal bonding for projects, we need to review exactly where we stand financially and have a plan to stabilize while still enabling us to be more proactive in town projects as opposed to reactive."
"As I said earlier," Palmer continued. "We need an advocate for Spotswood at the county and state level. I am passionate about ensuring that Spotswood receives not only what it is entitled to, but also find creative ways for financing, including additional grants and holding our professionals accountable."
"In closing," Palmer added. "Spotswood is in need of new leadership and ideas. We need to restore an administration that has integrity, respect and accountability to our residents. It's time for a change."
*In the upcoming weeks, Tapinto Milltown/Spotswood will continue with the Meet the Candidate series leading up to Election Day on Tuesday, November 3. Candidates running in local elections in Helmetta, Milltown and Spotswood will be featured.