The majority that controls the Princeton Council is seeking to oust incumbent Councilwoman Jo Butler in the Democratic primary this June.
Council President Bernie Miller and former Princeton Township Committeewoman Sue Nemeth have announced that they are running as a slate in the the June primary. The two are being backed by Mayor Liz Lempert, Councilwoman Heather Howard, and Councilman Lance Liverman.
Nemeth and Miller served on the Princeton Township Committee together with Lempert and Liverman. Nemeth is a public relations specialist at the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. She did not seek reelection to the new governing body for the consolidated Princeton and instead chose to run for the New Jersey State Assembly. She lost the primary to Marie Corfield. Miller, 84, has been an elected official in Princeton for more than a decade. A Captain in the U.S. Air Force from 1950 to 1957, he was a business executive for 45 years.
“Uniting Princeton was our first step in preserving the financial health and small town quality of life in our community. In the coming weeks, we will engage voters throughout the community in discussions of our shared values and vision for the future,” Nemeth said in a press release sent out to the media today announcing the campaign. The press release was dated Dec. 6.
“Sue brings people together and has a ‘can do’ style that gets results. I look forward to having her on our team as we lead Princeton forward. Bernie was instrumental in consolidating Princeton. He has worked to carry the best of each former municipality into the new Princeton,” Lempert said in the press release.
“Bernie and Sue see the big picture and understand the local impact on the community. They’re the perfect pair to represent taxpayers on Council,” Liverman said in the press release.
Butler has been a thorn in the side for the new governing body, challenging positions of the Council since the start of consolidation. When the new Princeton reorganized in January of 2013, the council was asked to approve professional appointments without viewing the contracts first, a move she opposed. She voted against the retirement package for former Police Chief David Dudeck, has scrutinized the legal bills for the municipality, and has pushed for the town to consider other law firms.
Butler said it is important for elected officials to ask critical questions to insure Princeton citizens are being served well. She said was disappointed but not surprised about the effort of her fellow Democrats to get her out of office.
“I’ve been a watchdog on fiscal responsibility and I will continue to do that,” Butler said. “I’ve been a strong fiscal watchdog. As long as I’ve served we’ve had a zero tax increase, and the tax rate in the new municipality decreased. I pushed for an oversight committee for legal expenses and that has saved us thousands of dollars. I’ve pushed for increased transparency, for more transparency, particularly in the area of police oversight. I’ve pushed to have police reports delivered at council meetings. It took until November to get a commitment from the town to re-institute publication of police reports.”
Butler, who works for independent school consulting firm Wickenden Associates, said she is passionate about seeing that all citizens in the community are represented.
“I’ve been responsive to citizens’ needs when approached about issues or concerns,” Butler said. “I care about the quality of life in Princeton. I walk the town, I’m in the town every day, I work in town and I love the community.”