In politics, the micro is the macro, only writ smaller; local politics matter because they mirror major shifts in societal priorities. Yet we are often told that party identity in our municipalities is a mere footnote to a candidacy based on expediency rather than ideology. I disagree.

I write to highlight party affiliation’s relevance in 2020, as I stand behind an accomplished Summit Councilwoman running for re-election. Susan Hairston is fourth generation, former President of the Board of Education, with a Master’s in Public Administration and a successful career in the private sector. Her father was Summit’s first African-American policeman. Ms. Hairston is the recipient of the Tri City NAACP Jubilee Humanitarian and Community Service Award, the YMCA Achiever of the Year, and the Summit Good Scout Award.

As her remarks on accountability profiled in TapInto last week attest, Ms. Hairston is an indefatigable fighter for our issues, the national blurring into the local. To cite an example: At the August 21 Summit rally addressing the US Postal Service crisis, she was both an ardent consumer advocate for all Americans and her constituents’ impassioned representative. Hairston spoke eloquently on a cascade of interrelated problems: a national lack of confidence in a new postmaster circumventing his own mission, and the immediate implications for Summit voters. Her voiced concerns were both those of a responsible citizen and a tireless supporter of New Jersey’s efforts to ensure delivery, our ballots a most precious commodity. Critically, Ms. Hairston did not disparage our beleaguered postal workers. Her own uncle a retired letter carrier, she movingly reminded us of the stakes for everyone – including postal employees – in both a properly funded and functioning USPS and in Summit’s post office.  

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Her demonstrated service to the City of Summit is for all residents, irrespective of party, but Ms. Hairston is a proud Democrat. Her personal and professional life are fully shaped by a grass roots party philosophy.

Those who run for public office are the sum total of their qualifying experiences, professional choices, and stated loyalties. I know who Susan Hairston is, and will vote for this proven and fiercely committed Democrat to continue her service to Common Council. Her goals are in line with her party’s, and Summit’s.

Hal Corley, Summit