Editor’s note: Visit www.centraljersey.com for updates on the Republican ticket.
HILLSBOROUGH – Election Day is fast-approaching for candidates seeking two spots on the Hillsborough Township Committee.
Democrats Donetta Johnson and David Brook received 99.95% of the votes in the Democratic Primary on July 7 to earn the nomination to run in November’s election against Republican Mayor Doug Tomson and Janine Erickson.
Running under the movement BoroForward, Johnson and Brook are committed to bringing people in the community together to address areas of need to help Hillsborough move forward.
“It’s a post line of what we represent,” Johnson said. “A better vision of what the township can be and the work we will to do to make that come to fruition. We welcome you all to be a part of it and mean it.”
Johnson is a 34-year resident of Hillsborough and the mother of three boys. She was former programmer and project manager at AT&T/ Bell Labs, and currently dedicates her time to running The Allegra School of Music and Arts, which she founded in 1999.
The Hillsborough-based school provides music and drama instruction to residents across Central Jersey and has made a big difference in the community, she said.
“I enjoy watching kids grow up and develop a confidence of who they are and that they can create,” Johnson said. “I want to bring that to the community and show people that if we work together that we can create things that we can truly be proud of.”
Johnson is also the founder and lead organizer of the Hillsborough Music Festival that has raised thousands of dollars for the Hillsborough Township Public School’s arts program, collegiate scholarships, mental health resiliency training, and youth suicide prevention.
Brook has been a Hillsborough resident since 2003 and is currently an adjunct Professor of Law at Rutgers University, previously holding a similar position at Brookdale Community College.
Still practicing law at 66 years old, Brook has more than 40 years of experience as an attorney and scientist working on environmental, employment, and transportation law.
He has extensive governmental experience at the municipal, state, and federal levels, and has served on numerous boards and commissions focusing on historic and natural resource preservation.
Brook was a member of the Hillsborough Environmental Commission, and was instrumental in the creation of Franklin Township’s Open Space Fund, which to date has raised approximately $100 million for open space, recreation, farmland, and historic preservation.
If elected to the Hillsborough Township Committee, Brook said he will look to diversifying the the township’s commission board and put people with the proper expertise in those positions to help the issues in the community.
“This is an opportunity to try to help people in this township begin to revitalize how our township is operating,” Brook said. “Diversity is what makes it more collaborative and gets more people involved. We’re not alway going to agree, but people will appreciate being able to share their opinion and you get better results from that.”
Both Johnson and Brook said they don’t look at themselves as politicians but instead consider themselves just people in the community trying to make Hillsborough a place to live in for all residents.
As Brook would say, “I don’t want to be a politician. I want to be a person that tells the truth.”
Along with their commitment to bringing integrity, inclusion, fiscal responsibility and transparency to the Hillsborough Township Committee, Johnson and Brook are also dedicated to addressing issues that stem from what is going on around the country.
The coronavirus pandemic and social justice are two main issues that have affected many people in the Hillsborough community and across the nation.
Both candidates said they will dedicate their time to creating platforms that will bring light to these issues and help the community come together to find innovative solutions that will make Hillsborough a more enjoyable place to live in.
“This is about having an impact on the community and to make the town a better place to live in. We want the quality of life to improve and build the best environment for our residents to thrive in,” Johnson said. “We want everyone living in the borough to be more connected as people, who care about the place we all live in and will work together with their neighbors to build a better place to live in.”
Johnson added that mental health services will be something she would love to implement around the community to help residents get through issues that are affecting them.
Helping out in the economic recovery of small businesses that were affected by the pandemic is a task that Johnson says she wants to be a part of as well.
Protecting the natural environment and creating more businesses to help grow a prosperous downtown area for residents are other ventures that Johnson and Brook will look to tackle if elected to the Hillsborough Township Committee.
“I want to add my voice to the decision making process and bring the different set of tools I have to finding solutions,” Johnson said. “We are committed to bringing different voices to the table.”