Borough Mayoral Race Heats Up: New Candidate Emerges

Jill Jachera marches in the Memorial Day Parade with the Spirit of Princeton

By Krystal Knapp

PRINCETON BOROUGH – For the first time in more than a decade, a Republican will challenge the Democratic borough mayoral candidate in the November election.

Lawyer, non-profit board leader and local volunteer Jill Jachera is seeking the Republican nomination for borough mayor in the June 7 primary via a write-in campaign.

Two Republicans are on the ballot for council, but no GOP candidate filed to run in the Republican primary. It is not unusual, however, for the local GOP to select a candidate in the primary election through a write-in campaign.

“Recently, a number of people have asked me to run for mayor as a result of growing

dissatisfaction with the current choice of candidates,” wrote Jachera in a letter announcing her candidacy. “After exploratory discussions with many residents and businesses, I have discovered that our community has a genuine hunger for thoughtful, fair, and pro-active leadership. They want new solutions and someone who shares their desire to preserve the quality of life in this special place we call Princeton.”

Jachera has support not only from Republicans, but also has the backing of some Democrats who are unhappy with the current Democratic leadership and mayoral candidates.

“I am concerned about our future as Princeton faces a number of challenges including high property taxes, a dysfunctional ‘town-gown’ relationship, and a possible consolidation. With so much at stake, we need a fresh perspective,” Jachera wrote in her candidacy letter.

The Hodge Road resident has recently appeared at several public forums such as borough council meetings on the university’s arts and transit neighborhood and consolidation study commission meetings. At a recent consolidation meetings, she called on officials to use the opportunity to “take a fresh look at budgets, and engage in strategic planning” to determine whether the governments are meeting their missions, instead of just simply combining budgets.

A native of New Jersey, Jachera and husband Fernando Guerrero have lived in Princeton for 16 years. They have two children, Fernando, 13, and Isabel, 11, who both attend Princeton Charter School.

A graduate of Penn State University and the Rutgers University School of Law in Camden, Jachera is a former partner in the law firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius. She retired in 2009.

Jachera has served on the YWCA Princeton’s board for nine years, and was board chair from 2007 to 2009. She currently sits on the YWCA’s campus planning committee that is responsible for building a new YWCA building at the Paul Roebson site. She founded and still runs the YWCA’s St. Nicholas Project, a program that matches donors with Princeton families to provide Christmas presents and a holiday meal to needy local families.

A member of the troop advisory committee for Boy Scout Troop 88, Jachera will lead her daughter’s Girl Scout Troop this fall and has been active on several committees at the charter school over the last four years, including working as a room parent and founder and co-coordinator of the school garden.

Jachera will most likely face the winner of the Democratic primary next week in which Councilman David Goldfarb is battling Planning Board Member Yina Moore.  Neither candidate was able to earn the full endorsement of the local Democratic club, the Princeton Community Democratic Organization. Goldfarb received enough votes to run in the main Democratic column. A third Democratic mayoral candidate, Anne Neumann, dropped out.

Democratic incumbent Barbara Trelstad and newcomer Heather Howard are running unopposed in the Democratic primary for council. Republicans Peter Marks and Dudley Sipprelle are running unopposed for the GOP nomination.

In the township, Democratic incumbents Bernie Miller and Sue Nemeth are running unopposed in the primary, while Republicans Mark Scheibner and Geoffrey Aton are running unopposed for the GOP nomination.