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PRINCETON: Leticia Fraga, mayor’s former campaign chairwoman, will run for council

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By Philip Sean Curran, Staff Writer
Mayor Liz Lempert’s now former campaign chairwoman announced Tuesday her candidacy for Princeton Council, the latest Democrat to enter a growing field that might get even bigger still.
“This is very new to me,” said first-time candidate and community volunteer Leticia Fraga in a phone interview Wednesday.
She runs for office in a year in which two seats on the six-member council are up. Incumbent Jenny Crumiller has said that she would seek another three-year-term, while fellow incumbent Patrick Simon is deciding between running for re-election or running for mayor. All six council seats are held by Democrats.
Mr. Simon’s uncertainty about his intentions appeared to play into her decision to run now for council, an office that friends and colleagues for years have urged her to seek. Ms. Fraga said she got advice not to wait until someone else, meaning Mr. Simon, made up his mind.
“I felt that I was ready now,” she said.
Ms. Fraga said she believed council would benefit from a “fresh perspective,” in her words, even as she downplayed the novelty of her possibly becoming the first Latina to serve in the government of a community with a sizable Latino population. She is originally from Mexico.
“That’s not why I’m running, “ said Ms. Fraga in adding she wants to be judged by her own merits.
Ms. Fraga, 57, grew up in Washington state as one of eight children. She eventually relocated east, where she and her husband have lived in Princeton for 17 years. The couple has two children, while Ms. Fraga has three other adult children from a previous marriage. She resides on Haughton Road.
In her time living here, she has served on government and nonprofit boards. She sits on the municipal human services commission and on the boards of the Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund, the YWCA and Princeton Community Housing.
“She’s a really strong candidate,” Ms. Crumiller said Wednesday of Ms. Fraga in citing her community service.
The list of Princeton Democrats declaring their candidacy or expressing interest has grown. So far, Ms. Crumiller, former school board president Tim Quinn and now Ms. Fraga have entered the race. Meanwhile, fellow Democrat Amner Deleon said he is considering running too.
Ms. Fraga had discussed with fellow Democrats about running.
“I know she’d been thinking about it,” Mayor Lempert said Wednesday.
Ms. Fraga was a volunteer on Mayor Lempert’s re-election campaign but has stepped down, Mayor Lempert said. It was not immediately clear who might replace her as head of the campaign team.
For her part, Mayor Lempert said she has told all the council candidates that she is not going to get involved in the council race this year so that she can focus on her re-election campaign.
Democrats said it was hard to pigeonhole Ms. Fraga in terms of what camp she is in within a party divided between different factions.
“Her circle is wide. Very wide,” Ms. Crumiller said.
“I get along with everybody,” said Ms. Fraga, who disagrees with the notion that there are factions within the party.

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