Mark Freda is poised to become the Municipality of Princeton’s second mayor when he is sworn into office at the Princeton Council’s annual reorganization meeting, set for Jan. 4 at 5:30 p.m.
Freda will replace Mayor Liz Lempert, the first mayor of the newly created Municipality of Princeton. She chose not to seek a third, four-year term. The town was created in 2013 when the former Princeton Borough and the former Princeton Township consolidated.
Princeton voters choose a mayor directly. The mayor, who serves a four-year term, is not chosen from among the sitting Princeton Council members.
In addition to swearing in Freda as the new mayor, Princeton Council members David Cohen and Leticia Fraga will be sworn into office for three-year terms. They will be serving their second terms on the six-member Princeton Council.
Freda served on the former Princeton Borough Council from 1986 to 1999, including five years as the Princeton Borough Council president. Later, he helped lead the consolidation effort that was put to a vote in 2012.
Freda, who was born and raised in Princeton, said he decided to run for mayor because he believed he could contribute to the community in a more dynamic way. He is the president of the nonprofit Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad, and has been a volunteer emergency medical technician and volunteer firefighter for 40 years.
Freda said the goal of his campaign was “true transparency and open government, promoting timely, two-way communication with residents on important issues.” Those issues range from property taxes to improvements in the Central Business District.
Cohen said he ran for re-election because many of the issues facing the town are issues on which he has the most to offer.
Among those issues are implementing the town’s Climate Action Plan and working to improve the town’s land use policies to encourage “smart growth” and more sustainable development.
Cohen said continuity in government is essential for smooth functioning, which is another reason that he sought re-election. There has been enormous turnover on the Princeton Council since its creation when the former Princeton Borough and former Princeton Township merged eight years ago, he said.
Fraga is the first Latinx to serve on the Princeton Council. Her family emigrated to Washington State from Mexico when she was 12 years old.
During her first term on the Princeton Council, Fraga focused on affordability, equity, sustainability and quality of life – all of which defined her initial campaign.
Fraga said that a second term on the council will allow her to amplify the momentum, goodwill and expertise that she developed in her first three-year term and to work alongside of her colleagues – elected and volunteer – to build on those accomplishments.
In addition to swearing in the new mayor and council members during the meeting, the Princeton Council will choose its president from among its ranks. Cohen had served in that role in 2020.
Freda will offer some remarks, as will the newly-elected council president and the other Princeton Council members.
The Princeton Council will take up some routine matters, such as making appointments to advisory boards and committees; authorizing staff appointments; and appointing the municipal attorney.
The Princeton Council also will approve the schedule of meetings for itself.