New Mercer County Freeholder Nina D. Melker took the oath of office on Sept. 24 during a ceremonial swearing-in, less three weeks after the Democrat won a vacant seat on the seven-member board.
Melker stood with her family at her side as fellow freeholder and Hamilton resident John A. Cimino administered the oath inside Ravello by Toscano, a restaurant on Route 130 in Robbinsville.
In remarks afterward, Melker thanked her supporters and said she was grateful to those who had helped her along the way.
“I truly appreciate all the support everyone in this room has given me, whether you are my family, my friends or many of my colleagues,” she said. “I truly do look forward to serving Mercer County and I am truly excited for this opportunity.”
The ceremony, taking place in the early evening, drew Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes, state Assemblyman Daniel R. Benson (D-Mercer and Middlesex), state Assemblywoman Verlina Reynolds-Jackson (D-Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Somerset) and other politicos from the county.
“I think Nina is going to make a fantastic freeholder,” Hughes told the crowd. “She has a sense of the people.”
Cimino said this was the first time he had ever administered the oath of office to anyone and that he was “thrilled” to be doing it for Melker.
“The Melker family is like a second family to the Cimino family,” he said. “The relationships we share are truly special.”
Melker technically became a freeholder earlier in the month after she defeated six other Democrats in an intra-party contest on Sept. 5 to replace Anthony S. Verrelli, who resigned his freeholder seat to become a state Assemblyman representing Hunterdon and Mercer counties.
Melker, a banker by profession, has been active in the community by serving on the boards of nonprofit organizations and getting involved in Hamilton Democratic politics. This is the first time she has held public office.
“Certainly, her community-based activities demonstrate the tremendous caring she has for young people, for those people in need,” Mercer County Democratic Chairwoman and East Windsor Mayor Janice S. Mironov said at the event. “She has really worked hard to come to this moment.”
Melker will run unopposed in November to serve the remaining year of Verrelli’s term. She will be able to run in 2019 for a full three-year-term. This year, four of the seven freeholder seats are on the ballot. The freeholder board is controlled by all Democrats.