All good things must come to an end, and that’s how I feel about my time on this Maplewood Township Committee. It’s time for me to step down — not because I’m tired, not because I’m out of ideas. It’s actually because I have some new ideas, and I need the time to pursue them. One thing all of us up here know is that the Maplewood Township Committee is a jealous mistress — it can take up an enormous amount of your time if you let it, and we often let it.
So I will not be running for re-election this year. I will finish out my third term in December, and that will be the end of my ninth year on this important body — to which I aspired for a long time, ever since I was a kid in this town. I am very lucky to have been able to live out that dream. Lots of people don’t get that chance. With politics, you have to be in the right place at the right time — and you have to take your shots when you can. Opportunities don’t have a way of coming around more than once.
And I do have some new opportunities – primarily in the environmental field, some which might actually pay real money. I have worked hard on the Sustainable Jersey program in this state, and Senator Menendez may be soon introducing a bill which could bring the program to the rest of the United States. I want to be a part of that. I am a big believer in renewable energy, especially solar, and I am partnering with some folks who are in a position to bring substantial private money to the effort. Getting this country off its dependence on fossil fuel is a very important goal.
Everyone on this Township Committee will tell you that this is a very fulfilling job. As I have said on more than one occasion, during my term as a Maplewood elected official I have never wondered, in the middle of the night, if I was doing anything important. Working for this town is very important. Trying to make life better for fellow citizens is as important as it gets.
I think that this Township Committee has accomplished a lot over the last decade, and I am happy to have been part of that. A number of things come to mind – the revitalization of Springfield Avenue, the new DeHart field, the new Police Station, the Green Team, Maplewood Green Day, an emphasis on frugality in the budget, and the beginning of real shared services with South Orange. I am personally proud of having organized three Mayors’ Balls which raised $150,000 for kids, of having formed YouthNet, of being a staunch supporter of integration and diversity in this town, and of leading a campaign to bring a new turf football field to the Underhill Sports Complex.
It’s been a great run for me. It’s not over yet. I can still make plenty of trouble for my colleagues in the next nine months. Thank you all for your help and support.
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