Mayor Doug Tomson is living his dream.
It was a goal of Doug Tomson, who is currently in his ninth year on the Hillsborough Township Committee, to be a part of local government when he was a child participating in Cub Scouts.
A lifelong Hillsborough resident, Tomson has always wanted to give back to the community he grew up in and make Hillsborough a great place for future generations to live in and raise a family in.
He hopes to continue to guide Hillsborough to be one of the best towns in America as he runs for re-election this November.
“I’ve always had a vested interest in being part of this amazing municipality,” Tomson said. “Hillsborough is a great place to live. I want Hillsborough to always be a great place to live in and I want my work to be a reflection of that.”
Tomson was sworn into his first term on the Hillsborough Township Committee in January 2012 and has since held the position of both mayor and deputy mayor on three separate occasions during his time on the board.
Prior to being elected, Tomson served on the Planning Board and Capital Planning Committee back in 2008.
The vice president of Government Affairs for New Jersey Realtors has had the challenge of being mayor of Hillsborough during the coronavirus pandemic.
Dedicating his time more than ever to helping the Hillsborough community combat COVID-19, Tomson believes that he and the township committee as a whole have done a good job handling the situation.
Tomson created a task force called Reopen Hillsborough to help the township recover from COVID-19.
“This was an important way to give back to Hillsborough,” Tomson said. “Every single part of our government didn’t miss a beat. We did incredibly well in informing the public about the virus and updating them every day. We were critically ready for the pandemic.”
One of the members of Reopen Hillsborough is Janine Erickson, who is the other Republican candidate running for one of the two open spots on the Hillsborough Township Committee.
This is Erickson’s first time running for town council.
Erickson has been a Hillsborough resident since 1993 and currently works as an executive assistant to the director of the Somerset County Parks Commission.
Before her current role, Erickson worked for Hillsborough Township in both the office of the mayor and administrator where she said she learned a lot about township politics and gained experience working with Tomson.
Erickson has been involved in various committees around the township and the county.
Since 2018, she has been a member of the Economic and Business Commission and served as vice chair of the committee last year. Erickson also serves on the Zoning Board of Adjustment.
In last year’s election, Erickson was the committee chair to help get Frank DelCore re-elected to the Hillsborough Township Committee.
She also had budgeting and financial experience by helping her husband, Jeffrey, run their own physical therapy company.
“I want to have a voice in the town I live in,” Erickson said. “I have a background in working for both the township and the county that helped me gain a bigger view of what is involved in the position. I have been involved in different affiliations over the last 27 years in Hillsborough. I feel my well-rounded background makes me a good candidate.”
Both Tomson and Erickson are focused on helping revitalize the local business scene in the township and attracting more businesses to Hillsborough.
The two candidates were heavily involved in helping the Hillsborough Business Administration hold its third annual Restaurant Week last month to help support local restaurants. Tomson said he visited more than 40 establishments in town during the week-long event and was happy to see a nice turn out from the community.
Erickson has been in contact with businesses since the beginning of the pandemic and continues to stay connected with owners to see what resources they need to thrive during and after COVID-19.
Tomson said Erickson is “all about what people need” in Hillsborough. He believes her experience as a small business owner and connections with local businesses give her the tools to help guide small businesses and restaurants through the aftermath of the pandemic.
“Communication is important when we are finding needs to fix up,” Erickson said. “We are going to help out as much as we can to make sure each need is met.”
The plans to implement a new downtown area is part of Tomson’s agenda, which he feels will also help bring in new businesses to Hillsborough.
The downtown area would be built around the new 206 bypass that is set to be completed in spring 2021.
Tomson hopes that after the construction of the bypass that the township can create a safe walkable downtown area where residents can shop and eat.
With the township celebrating its 250th anniversary next year, Tomson believes the new downtown area would be a great place to hold festivities to celebrate the milestone and “kick off a new era of Hillsborough.”
Building a new senior center for residents is another project Tomson would like to pursue if re-elected.
Enhancing the safety of residents when walking around the township is a top priority of Erickson’s as well. The mother of three wants to install flashing crossing lights around the community to help make it safer for residents.
As announced in May, Tomson started an Opioid Task Force to help residents struggling with opioid addiction. The growing opioid epidemic has affected many residents in Hillsborough, said Tomson, who hopes his task force can help bolster more information about addiction and how to get help for those suffering from it.
Just as they have since the pandemic began over the past six months, Tomson and Erickson said they are determined to keep Hillsborough thriving now and in a post COVID-19 world.
Most importantly, both candidates want to continue to make Hillsborough “One of the Best Places to Live in America”.
“The focus is going to be on what’s best for Hillsborough and we feel like we can do it,” Tomson said.