East Windsor Mayor Janice Mironov wins first Eileen Thornton Award

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Mayor Janice S. Mironov — seen here with Peddie School students at the recent Womanspace "Communities of Light" event — is the first recipient of the Eileen Thornton Award from the Mercer County Federation of Democratic Women.

By Lea Kahn, Staff Writer
Mayor Janice Mironov and the late Eileen Thornton, a Hamilton Township political figure, worked closely together in Mercer County politics for many years.
Thornton, who died in June, advocated for women to become involved in government and politics. She served on the Hamilton Township Council and was the president of the Hamilton Township Democratic Club.
So that’s why Mayor Mironov, who knew Thornton and who worked with her on many issues, was pleasantly surprised to receive the first Eileen Thornton Award from the Mercer County Federation of Democratic Women.
“I was very touched and honored to be selected by other politically involved women in my region to be the first person to receive this brand new award. It meant a lot to me,” Mayor Mironov said.
Many members of the Mercer County Federation of Democratic Women know her, have worked with her and have watched her as an elected official in East Windsor Township, Mayor Mironov said.
But then, Mayor Mironov has always been interested in politics and government. She grew up in Englewood, which she described as an “activist” town.
“It was part of the culture of the town,” she said.
As a young person, she handed out fliers during political campaigns. She was also active in student government in high school, and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in political science from Wellesley College. She also earned a law degree from the National Law Center at George Washington University in the nation’s capitol.
When she returned to New Jersey, Mayor Mironov worked in state government, including the Attorney General’s Office and the Department of the Treasury. She also had a private law practice.
To be near her work, Mayor Mironov settled in East Windsor Township. She became familiar with her new home town, and decided to take her youthful interest in government and politics and run for elected office.
“I wanted to make a contribution to the community,” Mayor Mironov said.
With that in mind, she ran for Township Council and was elected in 1995. She has served as mayor for the past 21 years.
Mayor Mironov is proud of what has been achieved over the past two decades – the preservation of nearly 20 farms; the construction of a new senior citizens center, which is an important focal point for the seniors; and earning silver status – the top level – from Sustainable Jersey.
East Windsor Township has had “great success” in attracting businesses – including many in the pharmaceutical industry – to locate here, she said. The Route 130 Corridor is full of new stores and restaurants, thanks to the push for redevelopment.
Mayor Mironov also is proud that the municipal property tax rate has not increased in five years. Township officials seek out grants to pay for local projects, such as the senior citizens center, and for the acquisition of land to be preserved for open space.
But for Mayor Mironov, community service is more than convincing companies that they really need to relocate to East Windsor Township. While that is important, it’s really about having an opportunity to make a difference – setting policies and goals, and working toward achieving them.
The mayor said a number of citizens and parents thought there was a need for more support for people who are dealing with mental health and substance abuse issues. She reached out and helped to launch a new substance abuse initiative in the community.
The new substance abuse initiative, which was launched in October, is being provided by the Family Guidance Center at the offices of the Western Monmouth County YMCA at 230 Mercer Street in Hightstown Borough.
“That is one way to make a difference,” Mayor Mironov said.
“We live in a great country, and the success of the country relies on getting people involved and ensuring that the elected officials respond to the needs of the people they serve,” she said.
There are many ways for residents -including young people – to become more engaged and involved in the community. They can join one of the many advisory boards and committees. It is not necessary to run for elected office to become involved, she said.
Mayor Mironov admitted that she gets a lot of satisfaction in working with young people to foster more involvement in the community – whether it is Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts or student representatives to the boards and committees.
“I have made that a particular focus – to get young people to come to Township Council to see their local officials and to present us with their ideas,” the mayor said. “The young people are smart, they are interested and they are enthusiastic. I love it when they show an interest in government and the community. I know so many young people and I interact with them. They are at a point in their lives when you can make an impression on them and be supportive of them. It is a very meaningful part of serving as mayor.”