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Hopewell Township Committee elects new mayor to lead the governing body for 2022

Hopewell Township has a new mayor in 2022 as Courtney Peters-Manning was unanimously elected by fellow members of the Township Committee.

At the Hopewell Township Committee’s annual reorganization meeting on Jan. 4, Township Committeewoman and incoming Mercer County Commissioner Kristin McLaughlin nominated Peters-Manning.

“During her years of service to the residents as a member of this body, Ms. Peters-Manning has demonstrated all the skills that she will need to be a successful mayor,” McLaughlin said. “2022 will no doubt be as challenging as the years that preceded it. I know my running mate, colleague and friend, Courtney Peters-Manning, will thoughtfully and enthusiastically lead this township through the unknowns of next year.”

Peters-Manning succeeds former Mayor Julie Blake, who served in the position during 2021.

“We were so hoping to be in person for this meeting and I don’t think any of us would have thought we would still be in the thick of this pandemic in January 2022,” Peters-Manning said. “When things are hard like this, we are faced with a choice: we can either submit to our anger and disappointment or press on and redouble our efforts to come together and be a unified community in the face of fear and uncertainty.”

She added that this is not March 2020, when the pandemic began.

“We having lifesaving vaccines and treatments, we have learned resilience and we have cultivated the ability to be flexible and adaptable. We will get through this latest wave of COVID-19,” Peters-Manning said.

“We have made great progress on our senior and community center in 2021. We have secured sewer rights for the center, which is no small task. We have welcomed several companies to the former BMS site,” she said.

Also spotlighted in Peters-Manning’s remarks is that the township will work closely with the Municipal Alliance and police department and look at retail cannabis.

Following the election of Peters-Manning, the new mayor nominated Township Committeeman Michael Ruger to become the township’s next deputy mayor.

“Michael is always focused on how to make Hopewell Township better for the people who live here. He was the driving force behind the Citizens Equity Advisory Committee in 2020 and has been a liaison to the committee ever since,” Peters-Manning said. “Further, with the increasing use and development of Woolsey Park, he saw a need to involve an array of township stakeholders in planning for the park and ensuring it meets the needs of the community.”

She added that Ruger advocated for funding from the state, and received $500,000 to build a new band shell in Woolsey Park.

Ruger, too, would be unanimously elected by members of the Township Committee.

“Let me start by thanking all members of the committee for your vote of confidence, and I am looking forward to the year to come. I also want to thank my family for their continuing support,” Ruger said. “All of us on this committee take our oaths of office very seriously. Throughout 2022 we will all do everything that we can to continue to do our best to make life better for the people of Hopewell Township.”

Ruger has served in the position previously and succeeds Peters-Manning, who was deputy mayor for the township in 2021.

The swearing-in of Uma Purandare as the newest member to the Township Committee also took place at the annual reorganization. She would be sworn-in to start her term prior to the elections for mayor and deputy mayor.

Purandare earned a three-year term on the Township Committee following the November 2021 general election.

She received 4,210 votes in her race against Republican Ed Jackowski and has previously served as a member of the Hopewell Township Zoning Board of Adjustment.

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