Two incumbents from the Hopewell Borough Council are in an uncontested Democratic primary race for two open seats on the Borough Council.
Councilwoman Samara McAuliffe and Councilwoman Debra Stuhler are the two incumbents seeking re-election in the 2021 Democratic primary on June 8. The two open seats each carry a three-year term.
Both McAuliffe and Stuhler are pursuing a second term on the Borough Council.
McAuliffe settled in Hopewell Borough during 2004. She grew up in Hopewell Borough and Hopewell Township and attended school in the Hopewell Valley Regional School District. McAuliffe would go on to earn a bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University.
She currently works as the human resources director for a water resources engineering and natural resources management firm.
“As part of my role on council, I participate in the building committee; the recreation committee; and Hopewell For All, a working group made up of borough residents committed to a Hopewell that is a welcoming community through education, historical awareness, communication, and collaboration with other local organizations who share similar visions,” McAuliffe said.
Additionally, McAuliffe has served as secretary of the Hopewell Harvest Fair Board from 2011-16 and currently serves as the Hopewell Borough Democratic municipal chair.
“My first term on council has been a great learning experience, especially during this past year. I’ve been really humbled by all of the hard work that I see people pour into our borough each day, from volunteers to borough staff to our residents,” she said. “I hope to have the opportunity to continue my work as a member of council for a second term because I care deeply about our community and residents. I’d also like to find new ways to engage our community with its government and really tap into all of the diverse resources we have in the borough.”
McAuliffe added that two top challenges in front of Hopewell Borough are growth and pedestrian safety.
“One challenge I see would be smart growth in our town. I think we need to continue the conversation around affordable housing and our tax base, helping to ensure Hopewell is an inclusive community,” she said. “We also need to prioritize pedestrian safety. Hopewell is a walkable, mixed-use community and we have so many varied uses of our roads and sidewalks. I’d continue to advocate for traffic studies on our streets, as well as education for drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists alike.”
Stuhler has lived in Hopewell Borough since 2002 with her family. She raised her son Sam in Hopewell who attended local Hopewell schools.
For her career, Stuhler has worked for Merrill Lynch and Bank of America for 22 years as a vice president in technology and operations.
She has also volunteered and been on a number of boards in the borough. They included the Hopewell Harvest Fair, Hopewell Block Party, Hopewell Valley Education Foundation, and Borough Recreation Committee.
Additionally, Stuhler co-hosted over 25 events in 2016 to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the borough during and chaired the Disability Awareness Professional Network at Merrill Lynch for more than 10 years.
Currently, Stuhler also serves as the Borough Council liaison for the local Board of Health, the Shade Tree Committee and the Recreation Committee.
“I am running again for Borough Council as I love our little town and the great community of people that call it home. I hope once again to have the opportunity to serve as a member of the Borough Council,” she said. “I look forward to partnering with the residents, officials and the other members of the Borough Council to make our town an even better place to live, raise our families and to continue Hopewell’s tradition of being a welcoming, nurturing, and walkable town.”
Stuhler added that top areas of focus are traffic and a continued effort building community in the borough.
“Traffic on Broad Street is a challenge. It’s a county road and a commuter road, but we want to make strides to make it safer,” she said. “Continue to build upon the strong sense of community here in the borough – make all our new residents feel safe and welcome, support and encourage new businesses, and encourage volunteerism.”