In an election that held no surprises, Mark Freda was elected to become the second mayor of the Municipality of Princeton, and incumbent Princeton Council members David Cohen and Leticia Fraga were re-elected to the governing body in the Nov. 3 general election.
None of the candidates, who are all Democrats, faced opposition. The Republican Party did not nominate candidates for mayor or for the two open Princeton Council seats. The mayor’s term is for four years and the Princeton Council term is for three years.
Freda, who received 9,804 votes, will succeed Mayor Liz Lempert, who did not seek re-election. She is the first mayor of the Municipality of Princeton, which was created in 2013 when the former Princeton Borough and the former Princeton Township consolidated.
Cohen and Fraga, who were seeking their second terms in office, received 9,509 votes and 9,528 votes, respectively, as of Nov. 7, which was the most current update the Mercer County Board of Elections posted as of press time on Nov. 11.
The vote tallies are unofficial. The state deadline to count all votes is Nov. 20, and Mercer County Clerk Paula Sollami-Covello must certify the results to the State of New Jersey by Nov. 23.
Freda served on the former Princeton Borough Council from 1986-99, including a stint as the Princeton Borough Council president.
Freda grew up in Princeton and has volunteered with the Princeton Fire Department. He also has volunteered with the Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad, of which he is the president.
Freda said he was honored to be elected mayor, and promised to work together with residents to address the issues and challenges as they come up. He pledged to be open and transparent in reaching decisions.
“All of us are on the same team – the residents, the elected officials and the town staff – and our goals should all be the same. I look forward to our future and all of us working together,” Freda said.
Cohen said he was pleased to have been re-elected, and while he did not face opposition in his quest for a second term, “I want the voters of Princeton to know that I don’t take their support for granted.”
“I will always be happy to hear from residents about their concerns, or just to get to know each other better,” he said.
Cohen said he plans to continue to focus on smart growth, implementing sustainable policies to enhance the livability and economic vitality of the town and to ensure that the benefits of good environmental policy are enjoyed by all residents.
“What this means in practice is to advocate for good design and to reduce the carbon footprint of our affordable housing projects as they move forward,” Cohen said.
Cohen said he wants to take steps to make it safer to walk and ride a bicycle around Princeton. He also wants to upgrade the town’s stormwater management capabilities to handle current and future levels of rainfall to prevent flooding.
Fraga thanked voters for expressing their vote of confidence in her by giving her a second term. It has been an honor to serve the town, and she is proud of what she and her Princeton Council colleagues have accomplished in the past three years.
“My goal from Day One has been to see all residents flourish, and I feel fortunate that I am being given the opportunity to continue with that work,” she said.
Fraga said that in addition to working on all of the issues and initiatives that will come before the Princeton Council, she will work to ensure that the Princeton Health Department and the Princeton Human Services Department have the resources they need to meet residents’ needs, including access to healthcare and other available resources.
“I will continue to work with members of our municipal boards, commissions and committees, as well as our many community partners, to seek community-driven solutions that uphold our shared values, with a focus on equity, affordability, prosperity and inclusion,” Fraga said.