HILLSBOROUGH, NJ - Republican Mayor Doug Tomson is seeking a fourth term on the Township Committee, hoping that his incumbency and accomplishments over the past nine years will also help to elect his running mate, Janine Erickson, who is running for public office for the first time but has served on the township Zoning Board and the Economic and Business Development Commission.
Election Day is Nov. 3; however, New Jersey adopted a mail-in ballot program this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic; with few exceptions, voters must mail their ballots or drop them off in ballot boxes throughout the county - there is a box at the Hillsborough Municipal complex. Final results may be delayed beyond Nov. 3 as the paper ballots must be counted by hand.
Committeewoman and former Mayor Gloria McCauley, a Republican now in her 12th year of serving on the Hillsborough Township Committee announced in January that she would not seek reelection. Erickson was elected in the June Primary to replace McCauley on the ballot.
McCauley served as Deputy Mayor in 2010, 2012 and 2017 and was unanimously selected to serve as Mayor for 2011 and again in 2018.
Tomson is the only one of four candidates running for Township Committee that has experience as an elected official.
Married with three daughters, he served as mayor in 2014 and 2015 as well, and as Deputy Mayor in 2013, 2018 and 2019.
He is also a lifelong resident of the township and graduate of Hillsborough High School.
The mayor said he stands on his record of accomplishments - being fiscally conservative, continuing efforts to minimize the number of affordable housing units required by the state to be built in the township, aggressive land preservation, and planning for a downtown business and cultural center along Route 206, once the Route 206 Bypass opens in the spring, which will allow New Jersey to designate the existing roadway as a bypass with less traffic and congestion.
The Democratic challengers for Township Committee, Donnetta Johnson and David Brook, are also newcomers, running for public office for the first time.
Johnson, owner of Allegra School of Music and Arts in Hillsborough for 20 years, says supporting local businesses will be a key priority if elected. She also supports creation of a pedestrian-friendly town center as a gathering place to help build a stronger sense of community. She formerly worked at AT&T Bell Labs as a project manager.
This summer, the Township Committee passed an ordinance creating a Town Center along the Route 206 corridor, which will become a secondary road once the Route 206 Bypass is completed in the spring.
Johnson, a resident of Hillsborough for 34 years with three sons, also said she will focus on creating inclusive community programs to promote cultural connections and, encourage physical and mental health.
She is also founder of the Hillsborough Music Festival that raises money for music and arts programs in the township school district.
She and her running mate are also proponents of planned growth and land preservation.
Brook, an environmental attorney, wants to revise the township's Master Plan to provide for measured growth and sustainability, a reduction in traffic, reducing the strain on infrastructure and improving quality of life.
A former member of the Hillsborough Environmental Commission, Brook is also an adjunct Professor of Law at Rutgers University.
Brook, a resident of Hillsborough since 2003, said he will also support and vote for the most qualified appointees to township boards and commissions.
Brook made headlines as a high-profile member of a grass-roots organization, DORIS - Destruction of Residence is Senseless - that fought the demolition of the former Doris Duke Estate on the Duke Farms property in a protracted legal battle in 2015-16. He filed several lawsuits and appeals against the township and the Doris Duke Foundation and argued the case in Superior Court in Somerville, but was unsuccessful.
A resident of Hillsborough for 26 years, Erickson is also an appointed member of the Task Force to Open Hillsborough and the Hillsborough Opioid Task Force. She is married with three daughters. She is co-owner of a physical therapy practice with her husband, and works for the Somerset County Park Commission.
Tomson, a graduate of Rider University, works for the New Jersey Realtors Association.
The Republican-controlled Township Committee for the fourth straight year reduced the municipal tax rate and reduced municipal spending in the 2020 budget while maintaining local services. The Committee also implemented an aggressive road repairs program in 2020.