Princeton Council Primary Race – Democratic Candidate Statements

The following statements were submitted to the Princeton Community Democratic Organization by candidates for the Princeton Council. Incumbents Jo Butler and Bernie Miller, and former Princeton Township Committeewoman Sue Nemeth are vying for two three-year seats on the six-member governing body. The polls will be open tomorrow, June 3, from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. To confirm your polling location, visit the state’s online voter information system.



Jo Butler

Dear Friends and Members of the PCDO,

The ability to collaborate is an important quality for a member of Council. I ran for election to the consolidated Princeton Council as a member of a team with a shared vision for our future, and I take that responsibility seriously. However, I take even more seriously my responsibility to fulfill the public trust, so there have been occasions when I have done what I thought was right for the community, even though it required that I disagree with some of my colleagues.

When we were asked to approve professional service contracts we had not read, I would not do it. I know I ruffled some feathers, but I felt strongly that I had an obligation to understand what I was being asked to approve. Indeed, the contract that was approved with the municipal attorney was not what we thought we were agreeing to, and with the help of my colleague on the Legal Oversight Committee, Heather Howard, we renegotiated the contract, creating a significant savings for our residents.

One subject I consider central to the public trust is taxes. I know that our property taxes can be a challenge for many of our residents. I am the only candidate who supported a tax decrease in 2013. I have not been willing to go back on our promise to maintain the current pay level for our governing body. I have been asked to support an increase out of loyalty to my colleagues. Again, I draw a line. I will not place loyalty to my colleagues above a pledge to the public, and I do not view politicians giving themselves pay raises as “courageous.”

I am also committed to an open, transparent government. I pushed for a Conflict of Interest policy that would conform with the State of New Jersey Conflicts of Interest Law. That, too, was uncomfortable for some, but I felt it was critically important. The public must have the utmost confidence in our deliberations. It isn’t personal. It is about transparency.

My record demonstrates that I can compromise to get things done, when appropriate. I also have proven that I listen to the concerns of residents. Back in 2011, many residents expressed concern over the proposed plan for our Community Park Pool complex. I worked with residents to craft a compromise that reduced the cost and scale to a design that is in line with community sensibilities. My leadership in delivering a new Community Pool on time and under budget can be viewed in this May, 2012 news article.

After a campaign that has been challenging for our small community, people have asked me why I want to serve. The answer is simple. I am someone who benefited from my hometown’s investment in public services. I attended public schools; I learned to swim in the public pool; I was a regular user of the book mobile; I skated on a public ice rink; and I studied at the public library. I know what a difference local government can make in the lives of its residents. I have the time and — through years of service and hard work — the experience to make a positive contribution to the future of our great town.

I am humbled by the outpouring of support from people with whom I have worked closely. I invite you to review what people have written on my behalf on my website: I also ask you to consider casting a single vote for me. My opponents are running as a slate, a contrived construct. The truth is that you may vote for any single candidate or any two candidates that you choose. The act of casting a “bullet vote” is explained well in a letter by resident Ruth Sayer.

My campaign is providing rides to polls for supporters. If you need a ride, please call our ride hotline at (609) 316-6671.

I know that as members of the PCDO, we share a commitment to progressive Democratic values. I thank you for your participation and consideration, and I ask for your support at the polls on Tuesday, June 3.

Democratically yours,




Bernie Miller

My Fellow Democrats and Members of PCDO,

In the Primary Election on June 3rd Princeton Democrats will take an important step towards defining the future of our local government. As voters we have an opportunity to ensure that Princeton Council operates in a deliberative, pragmatic and businesslike manner to address the needs of our community.

Sue Nemeth and I have a solid record of accomplishment. Together we helped forge an agreement that led to the first 55+ market rate housing in Princeton with a Princeton preference. We worked together to preserve environmentally sensitive land on the Princeton Ridge, creating a green belt along the Ridge. We worked with residents and our Recreation Department to arrive at a design for our new Community Park Pool that enabled it to be completed within budget and opened on time. As elected officials we led the charge for consolidation and believe that it is our responsibility to see that the residents of Princeton receive the full benefits of consolidation. We held the line on municipal property taxes before consolidation and will work to make certain that our residents receive a dollar’s worth of services for every dollar of property tax.

As a united community we have much to do to realize the benefits of consolidation. There are opportunities to improve the cost-effectiveness of our government and the services that protect the lives, welfare and property of our residents. Our record of past performance shows Sue and I will listen to all sides of an issue, deliberate in a transparent manner, and work with our professional staff to get the job done.

For the future of Princeton, I ask that you vote for Sue Nemeth and me on June 3rd.


Bernie Miller



Sue Nemeth

Dear Fellow PCDO Members:

Of thousands of registered Democrats in Princeton, PCDO members like you stand out for your active involvement in the political process. Every election season brings challenges and opportunities.Together, we’ve proven that the Democratic Party in Princeton is strong and committed to fielding the best possible candidates through a competitive process.

I ask for your vote in the Democratic Primary Election on June 3rd. As you know, I’ve worked closely with Bernie Miller and served as Committeewoman and Deputy Mayor in the former Township. We’re proud to have tackled some of the toughest challenges of our time — full municipal consolidation, preserving the Princeton Ridge woodlands, rebuilding the Community Park pool complex and negotiating with the University. We delivered results because we chose our battles carefully, invited the public into the process and focused on Princeton’s future.

Bernie and I need your votes on Tuesday to continue the fight for tax relief, deliver the important services you rely on, represent Princeton’s interests in the region and ensure the continued success of our vibrant downtown. We have the vision and experience to represent the entire community and get the job done.

The polls are open on Tuesday from 6:00am to 8:00pm. To confirm your polling place, visit Thank you!

Sincerely yours,

Sue Nemeth


  1. In the Democratic primary several years ago, as a very few Planet Princeton followers may remember, I ran against Jo for a seat on Borough Council. Today, I feel honored to cast my vote for Jo — and only for Jo. I hope you will do the same.

    1. I agree. For only the second time in my voting life, I declared as a Democrat to vote in a primary. This time it was for the sole purpose of voting for Jo. Among many other reasons — the most important of which is that I greatly appreciate her diligence and responsiveness — she was the ONLY member of the Princeton Council to make time to visit our special needs event last month, even though all members were invited. That meant a lot to our community.

      When a primary determines the probable results of a local election, too many residents are disenfranchised inappropriately. Open primaries would be so much better — may I even say fairer — in our local elections. But I don’t see the “party-in-power” giving up its advantage anytime soon, or ever. It’s too bad.

      1. I almost did the same thing. I think it’s a bit ridiculous that I have to declare as something I’m not in order to have a say in the voting for Council. There’s something very wrong with a system designed this way, and I don’t like to participate in things I don’t believe in. But I may have to, just so that I don’t see the Council overrun with more people that don’t understand its purpose. OPEN PRIMARIES!! Come on already! Let us make a difference at least where we have some ability to make a difference. I mean, it’s pretty hopeless at the House/Senate level. But cutting people out of the process at the lower levels is what lets the stink rise to the top.

  2. Hopefully, people will realize that independent voters, former “rivals”, and Republicans in town, have said wonders about Jo. Hopefully, people will realize what important that support is, and vote for Jo, and Jo alone.

    1. Right on Sandra. Let’s welcome the Republican and Independent voters to support Jo in this election. But don’t forget to discard and ignore them immediately following 🙂

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