I am writing with my support of Susan Hairston’s re-election for Summit Common Councilwoman - Ward 1. I have known Susan for over a dozen years, as our daughters were Washington School friends, so we each hosted many (sleepless) sleepovers and worked with our daughters on science fair and other projects throughout the years. Through our daughters’ friendship, we, too, became friends as well when she welcomed me into the Summit community, and we learned that we shared many common interests. When you become a friend of Susan Hairston, you become an extended member of her family. Over the years, our families have enjoyed BBQs, dinners out, concerts, and many political activities including canvassing neighborhoods, community nights on the Green, getting out the vote, and connecting over a good cup of coffee.

As a 4th generation Summit resident, Susan knows our city and what it takes to get government working. She knows Summit’s history and has helped shape its present. Unlike her opponent, Susan Hairston has balanced the Summit Board of Education budget, worked tirelessly for all of Summit’s residents, and helped create a better city in which we all enjoy living. While I appreciate newcomers like Susan’s opponent, it would make more sense to have someone with experience to serve on Common Council. Susan Hairston’s opponent, Eileen Kelly, has never served on a Summit committee (elected or otherwise) since arriving here. Electing someone with no local experience makes no sense.

Susan Haiston has experience that matters. As the immediate past Chair of the Summit Municipal Democratic Committee, Susan Hairston embodies that local government matters, and we all can be agents of change—where it is seen and appreciated more—to make the lives of our citizens better.  In fact, Susan recruited me as a Democratic County Committeewoman when she had an opening in my district. Through her work as SMDC Chair, Susan Haiston ushered in a Blue Wave at the local and Congressional District 7 level, fought for free full-day Kindergarten for all Summit residents, and made sure Summit received its fair share from Union County in terms of representation on important Union County committees and money to improve our parks, streets, and downtown.  Susan is a proud, progressive Democrat, yet she is able to work with people of different political persuasions to get legislation passed to make our city a better place.

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While I originally met Susan Hairston through our daughters’ friendship, I’ve worked with her on the SMDC and have seen her passionate action. She studies the issues, does her homework, and works hard on the solutions. While our days of hosting elementary school sleepovers are long behind us, Susan Hairston’s work on Council is tireless. Susan has walked every street in both districts getting to know Summit residents and listening to their concerns. She has an empathetic ear, researches possible solutions, and follows through with people. It was clear she did this when working with our daughters on various collaborative projects, as Board of Education President, and on many other committees she has served on over the years.

While Susan Hairston represents Ward 1, Summit is small enough that every Council member represents people beyond their ward. Although I cannot vote for her as I live in Ward 2, I support Susan Hairston as she has assisted people in my Ward 2 neighborhood with many issues as Chair of the Safety Committee:  making sure empty lots were mowed, spearheading traffic studies where multiple accidents occurred at the intersection of Morris Ave. and Ashwood Ave., and ensuring that traffic lights were better timed on Morris Ave. between Ashwood Ave. and Orchard St.

A vote for Susan Hairston for Summit Common Council Ward 1 is a vote for our future seeped in our past. Her 30 years of experience, honor, hard work, and dedication are exactly the kind of leadership that will allow Summit to grow and thrive.  She is an ethical leader, generous friend, and the right person for Summit Common Council.

Risa Gorelick, Ph.D.

Union County Committee Woman

Summit, NJ—Ward 2, District 2

SMDC Assistant Secretary