Newsflash. Democrats have a chance to pick up another Congressional seat in New Jersey. Wouldn’t you love to hear that? Not if you’re Republican!

Partisan politics creates cliques among voters. That’s the challenge for all elected officials, whether they are Democrat, Republican or otherwise. This cliquishness gets in the way of building a community. It stops people from meeting and talking about things as neighbors.

How many people felt their blood boil when reading accusations on Morristown Green about “vitriol on the left”? Or, on the other side, felt irritated by protest marches and argumentative debates at recess Town Halls last week, for their audacity? How many have gotten upset at personally being called a “snowflake” or “politically correct nutcase”? Or “racist bigot” or “wingnut”?

Events at national level affect how we feel and act at the individual level. The imperative for our state representatives on Capitol Hill is to translate the public’s discontent back home into something constructive for the whole country. At the level of mayor, the job is to get Town Hall and its Heads of Department on the one hand, and the Town Council, town boards and town commissions on the other hand, to act professionally, courteously and, most importantly, the opposite of cliquish.

Morristown is on a good trajectory. We have a relationship of mutual respect with major private institutions such as the Morristown Medical Center and the Morristown Municipal Airport. We are the “regional capital” for privately-run social service providers such as Zufall Clinic and the Market Street Mission. Non-profits like Morristown Neighborhood House and Cornerstone Family Programs are at home here too.

We’re attracting investments in real-estate development for luxury rentals that will keep providing room for our population to grow. To complement that, we’re providing a business atmosphere where retailers in banking, clothing, cosmetics, food and drink, gifts, home decoration and sports can profit from meeting the public’s ever-changing needs.

Sounds good, right? There’s also a down side.

  • What about those who must work more than one job to keep up with rising rent, cost of school supplies for the kids and the expense of weekly groceries?
  • What about people who discover they’re living in environmentally unsafe places, at higher risk of flooding or exposure to health hazards like toxic waste, but are forgotten by town government because nobody notices their cries for help?
  • What about language and cultural barriers that keep people out of each other’s neighborhoods, and keeps financial investments out at the same time?

So far at Town Hall, we haven’t been able to talk about those things without being cliquish. But a firm and stable mayor can help bring conversations back to an even keel. This is why I want to be Mayor for a change.

What do you think? Let me get some feedback. I’m human, so I like to hearing feedback when it’s good. But I’m tough enough to be critiqued, so don’t hesitate to tell it like it is.

– Michelle

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