No one has to be told the significance of voting for U.S. President on Tuesday, Nov. 8. Highland Park Mayor Gail Brill Mittler explains in a Facebook posting on Sunday, Nov. 6, why voting in the uncontested local election is equally important.
It serves as a way of reinforcing the humane and progressive values of the just deceased Councilmember Jon Erickson, whose name remains on the ballot. He was committed to diversity, equal opportunities for all residents, as well as tax stabilization. Community activist and communications professional Matt Hersh has been appointed to Councilman Erickson’s seat until the January 3 Highland Park Borough Council reorganization meeting, at which time council will appoint an individual to serve for one full year. In Nov. 2017, the voters will decide who will fill the remaining two years of Mr. Erickson’s seat.
Below is Mayor Brill Mittler’s commentary.
Last week we welcomed Matt Hersh as our newest councilperson in Highland Park. Matt brings a lot of experience, especially in housing and communications, to our governing body. His energy and enthusiasm are evident. Matt will be filling the seat vacated by the untimely passing of my governing body colleague and friend, Jon Erickson.
Jon proudly served on Highland Park’s Borough Council for 14 years. He possessed a deep knowledge of the workings of municipal government, not just from his hands-on experience, but also from the subject matter he taught at Kean University. Since my time on council, Jon was the person I turned to when I had an idea I needed to flesh out or when there were controversial issues to work through.
Because of the election cycles of council members, Jon and I were often campaigning together for our Borough Council seats. I have a collection of campaign images of the two of us walking on Raritan Avenue, or meeting with residents, or joining other district Democrats. While campaigning, we would spend a lot of time together. It was at these times I got to see the quiet and sneaky sense of humor he possessed and wielded at just the right times.
The last thing that Jon asked me to do for him was to secure a write-in ballot for him, and to serve as his designated messenger to deliver his ballot. Sadly, Jon passed before he could complete his ballot.
Voting was a privilege that Jon took seriously. This Tuesday, you have a chance to honor Jon Erickson once more by including him in your vote. A vote for Jon Erickson will be a vote for Highland Park’s democratic values…pride in our diversity, equal opportunities for all our residents, tax stabilization. A vote for Jon Erickson will ensure that we can appoint someone with his qualities and beliefs to fill his council seat for the year 2017. I urge you to vote for Phil George and Jon Erickson as Highland Park Council members this Tuesday.