Hopewell Township Committee election results are in

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Democratic incumbent Kristin McLaughlin and newcomer Courtney Peters-Manning have unofficially won the two open seats on the Hopewell Township Committee.

The two Democrats faced off against Republicans incumbent John Hart and Edward Jackowski during the general election on Nov. 5.

Each seat is for a three-year term on the committee.

The election results are unofficial until the votes are certified by Mercer County.

McLaughlin won re-election after he registered 2,507 votes and Peters-Manning collected 2,407 votes.

Hart received 2,208 votes and Jackowski recorded 2,087 votes.

Right now the five-member committee has a 4-1 Democratic majority with Hart as the only Republican. The  victories by McLaughlin and Peters-Manning will make the Township Committee a unanimous Democratic majority when both are sworn in.

McLaughlin previously stated to the Hopewell Valley News what she sees as the most pressing issues facing the township.

“Keeping Hopewell Township affordable and green are the most important goals I have been working toward. I challenged each of our expenses and developed a 2019 budget that is nearly $2 million less than that of 2015,” she said. The goal of protecting our environment and rural character is paramount. I partner with FOHVOS (Friends of Hopewell Valley Open Space), The Watershed, D&R Greenway, the county, and the state to make the township’s open space dollars go further. I want to expand our trail network to enhance recreational opportunities.”

McLaughlin explained how her experience and background prepare her for the challenges that face the township.

“A good leader has to be wise enough to ask hard questions, and humble enough to seek answers from those who have more experience. I enjoy bringing people together to work for all our residents. I am willing to make the hard decisions that this role presents. I listen, ask questions, and work toward solutions, always with the best interest of the entire township as the top priority,” she said. “If reelected, I will build on the solid foundation we have in order to ensure that the Hopewell Township of the future offers its residents a strong community, in a healthy environment, with a responsible and thoughtful governing body.”

Peters-Manning also previously discussed with the Hopewell Valley News about the most pressing issues she sees in the township.

“The most pressing issue facing Hopewell Township, besides keeping property taxes in check, is protecting our environment and rural character, which includes fighting the PennEast pipeline. I would continue to make preserving open space and farmland a priority, as I have done working on the boards of FoHVOS and the Lawrence Hopewell Trail (LHT). This is not just my opinion; I have been walking door-to-door all summer and fall, and this is what I hear most often from residents,” she said. “I also would oppose extending sewers to more areas of the township, such as up Route 31 to the golf course, as sewers inevitably lead to development. Next is finding the right, responsible corporate partner to replace Bristol-Myers Squibb when they leave their Hopewell campus by July 2020.”

Peters-Manning said her business and financial experience will help with the issue she referenced.

“I am the director of Finance at the Cambridge School, where I am responsible for budgeting, keeping expenses under control, and managing cash flow. I know what it means to keep within a budget in order to pay the bills and make payroll every two weeks,” she said. “I have been an environmental consultant and lawyer, and this background in environmental law and policy gives me a deep understanding of the challenges facing our town, as well as, how to preserve our critical assets. I currently serve on the boards of the FoHVOS and the LHT, so I have experience working with community partners to preserve land and build trails that benefit our community.”