Two Democrats have filed nominating petitions to run for two open seats on the Princeton Council, eliminating any official political primary fight in the June 8 Democratic Party primary.
Incumbent Princeton Councilwoman Eve Niedergang and Leighton Newlin filed their nominating petitions by the April 5 deadline. Princeton Councilman Dwaine Williamson is not seeking re-election.
No one had filed to run for the Republican Party nomination in the June 8 Republican Party primary by the April 5 deadline.
Absent a write-in candidate, the Princeton Council election will be decided in the June 8 primary because of the lack of nominees on the Republican Party ticket and challengers in the Democratic Party primary.
Neidergang is seeking a second, three-year term on the Princeton Council.
Niedergang moved to Princeton in 1985 to pursue a master’s degree at Princeton University. She worked for the Educational Testing Service for many years, and then as a consultant in the field of educational testing.
Since 2016, she has worked as the volunteer coordinator at The Watershed Institute.
Niedergang said she is proud of what the Princeton Council has accomplished in the past two years – from ensuring that businesses were able to stay open during the COVID-19 pandemic, to assisting residents in need and keeping municipal property taxes flat.
Niedergang has focused on sustainability and environmental issues, citing her leadership in the effort to preserve and maintain the town’s open space and restarting the Flood and Stormwater Committee, which led to an ordinance that will decrease flooding from new developments.
Niedergang said she would continue to focus on sustainability and environmental issues in a second term on the Princeton Council.
Among those initiatives, she would like to explore restarting the household composting program, reconsider leaf and brush pickup for large properties, moving away from gasoline-powered lawn equipment, and possibly move to a “pay to throw” trash collection system.
Implementing the town’s Climate Action Plan – including a shift toward electric vehicles and charging stations, energy audits of municipal buildings and improved bicycle and pedestrian mobility and safety – also are on Niedergang’s list.
“As a progressive Democrat, I am committed to the broad values of inclusion and social justice, climate sustainability and smart growth, and providing opportunities for our businesses and for all who work in our unique and diverse community,” Niedergang said.
Newlin is seeking his first term on the Princeton Council.
Newlin grew up in Princeton. He graduated from Princeton High School and Lincoln University. He spent many years in the retail industry, owning his own boutique hat and accessories shop in Boston. He was also Reebok International’s first concept store manager, responsible for opening and staffing stores in Boston, Santa Monica and New York City.
Newlin left retail and recently retired after almost 30 years as the director of special services at a residential community release program in Newark that re-integrates former prisoners into society through education, job training and counseling.
Newlin has been involved in the Princeton community for many years, including serving on the Princeton Housing Authority’s Board of Commissioners. He has chaired the board for 19 of his 24 years of service.
He is co-chairman of the Witherspoon-Jackson Neighborhood Association, and serves on the board of the Witherspoon-Jackson Historic and Cultural Society and the Paul Robeson House. He played a role in the effort to have the Witherspoon-Jackson neighborhood gain recognition by becoming the town’s 20th historic district.
Citing his track record in community service and his skill set, background and experience, Newlin said it makes him an “ideal candidate” for a position in local leadership.
Newlin, who is Black, said Princeton’s leadership should reflect its people and that diversity on the governing body is necessary, critical and beneficial. He said he would work to ensure that Princeton becomes a town that supports equity, diversity and good governance.
“The overriding responsibility of government is to serve the people it represents. Over the past 20 years, I have demonstrated an unselfish commitment to the betterment of my neighborhood and to the greater Princeton community,” Newlin said.