FLEMINGTON, NJ – Susan Peterson has announced that she will seek election to Borough Council, and will run in the June 7 primary as a Republican.
Candidates have until April 4 to file for the local primary.
“I’m not a dreamer, I’m a doer,” said Peterson. Her experience – as chair of the board that runs the borough’s Business Improvement District and as the owner of Teaberry’s Tea Room – helped her realize “the importance of a vote,” and not just in the privacy of a voting booth.
Peterson steps into a controversial scenario. The BID board has attracted critics, and was "de-designated” by Borough Council on March 2. Council has decided to create another board to run the district.
Peterson recognizes that if she wins a seat on council, “One vote won’t make a difference. But it could influence others ... I can’t neglect an opportunity to make a change.”
The key to change, Peterson said, is communication. “I believe change does not begin with being understood,” she said. “It begins with understanding others."
For Peterson, Flemington is personal. Teaberry’s is one of Flemington’s business success stories. It’s been open for 11 years, moving to its present location five years ago after it outgrew its original site at 134 Main St. Her daughter Sara is part of Teaberry’s winning recipe; she helps keeps an eye on everything and runs the restaurant’s social media and email campaigns.
At 27 years old, Sara is a millennial, Peterson said, and the Lambertville resident would someday like to take over the business.
“I have a legacy to fulfill here,” her mom says. She wants to hand her daughter a business that’s as healthy as possible, and that means keeping Flemington healthy, too.
Peterson said her daughter reminds her that, “You created (the restaurant) out of an idea,” and Peterson says, “I have another idea. Flemington will be successful. We’ll work together.”
Working together, Peterson said, means listening to business owners, attracting and appreciating volunteers, and staying with it. “Persistence is my strongest quality,” she said.
Peterson said she’s never run for public office before, but that doesn’t concern her. After all, Teaberry’s was her first restaurant venture; her background is as a clinical bacteriologist.
“But I always loved food,” she said.