The election results for the Hillsborough Township Committee have been certified and both Republican candidates have been elected to serve on the governing body for the next three years.
Shawn Lipani and Steven Cohen defeated Democratic candidates Jeffrey Wright, an incumbent, and Roger Koch. The leading vote getter was Lipani with a total of 8,745 votes (28.95%), while Cohen received 8,282 votes (27.41%).
Lipani, who is finishing up his first term on the committee and first year as mayor of Hillsborough, said he was honored to be re-elected by the community he grew up in during an exclusive interview with centraljersey.com.
“I’m very honored,” Lipani said. “Growing up in this town, it’s an honor to serve the township. The first time you’re elected, you’re happy. The second time, it shows that the work you did was well received by the community and people appreciate the work you have done.”
Lipani and his family moved to Hillsborough in 1973. After attending the University of Rochester and living in California following graduation, Lipani returned to Hillsborough in 1990 to work in his family’s business, Central Jersey Nurseries, and has been a member of the community since.
In addition to his time on the committee, Lipani serves on the township’s planning board and board of adjustment committees. He also has served on the Somerset County Planning Board and the county’s Economic and Business Development Commission.
Being re-elected to the committee following his first year as mayor means a lot to Lipani, who added that it was a great “gambit” to have that honor as Hillsborough celebrated its 250th anniversary in 2021.
This past year brought a lot of different challenges that Lipani and his colleagues on the dais had to face, including the aftermath of Tropical Storm Ida in September.
It was “trial by fire” as Lipani said about being a first-time mayor, but he said he feels he and the rest of the committee members did what was best for Hillsborough and that shows with him being re-elected to the board.
“I did what I thought was best for the town,” Lipani said. “You do this job because you want to do this. To be reaffirmed shows that the community appreciates what you are doing.”
Now re-elected, Lipani looks forward to getting to work on tackling current issues in the township and bringing in new projects to help Hillsborough continue to grow into the future, he said.
This includes the recent acquisition by the township of the 450 acres of land between Hamilton and Amwell Road and the ongoing road study being conducted around the community.
Lipani said once the road study is completed that he hopes to help create a long-term infrastructure plan to make sure all the roads and surfaces in the township are up to code.
Cohen will be a first-time member of the Township Committee. He currently works as a facilities manager at Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in Jersey City, and has experience serving on the Hillsborough Township Board of Education.
Wright and Koch could not be reached by press time.