Growing up in Bergen County, when I visited my family in Brooklyn for holidays and special occasions it seemed like a long ride home to New Jersey. When we drove up Route 17, I always felt I was close to home when we got to Hasbrouck Heights. That feeling is part of the reason I moved to this wonderful community.
In my career, I have served as Chief of Staff for State Assemblymembers Connie Wagner and Tim Eustace. Connie was a lifelong educator and Tim a chiropractor with an environmentalist streak. Both served on their local town councils and represented Hasbrouck Heights in Trenton. Working with them, I learned the ins and outs of government, how to build consensus and work together to find solutions that could help more people.
Since my time on the Hasbrouck Heights Council began, I have tried to bring my ideas and passion for finding solutions to our town. Sometimes I have been successful - we passed a Stigma-Free resolution, banned smoking and vaping in our parks, and had a town-wide cleanup where about 100 residents showed up to help.
Sometimes my ideas have not come to fruition. I've called for the official creation of a Green Team, which is a requirement to participate in the Sustainable Jersey program, and a Municipal Alliance, a committee to fight alcoholism and drug abuse. Both would have the potential to stop spending our tax dollars and actually bring more grant money to our town for programs. I tried to save us at least $70,000 by refinancing our bonds through Bergen County long term, instead of every year. I voted against affordable housing at the VFW and Longview Avenue, and I voted against a pay raise for the police chief.
I am running for Mayor because I believe our town has the potential to stay a premier place to raise a family, and at the same time bring new ideas and solutions to make government more efficient, transparent and innovative. We need a new town website, more shared services, and a more open and accessible local government. We need a Green Team, a Municipal Alliance, and we need to use the County, State and any other entities as partners to save taxpayer dollars. I want to task a bipartisan Parking, Pedestrian and Paving Committee with finding real solutions for residents and our business community (and keep the ban on overnight parking), make our streets safer and slower, and keep everyone up to date on when and where paving will occur. We need to take part in bulk purchasing of electricity for residents because it will save every resident money on their bill. For example, West Orange has saved $3 million dollars for participating residents since 2014 and Maplewood will save about $1 million dollars over 17 months.
I love living in Hasbrouck Heights. Our local government can do more and find ways to spend less by working hard and having a dedicated team in place for our future. On November 5th I ask for your vote for Hillmann, Weiss and Baez - you're already a part of Team Heights, let's do this together.