Princeton Mayor Liz Lempert has announced that she will not seek reelection in November, after serving two four-year terms in office.
Princeton First Aid & Rescue Squad President Mark Freda announced his intention to run for the position. According to CentralJersey.com, he is the first candidate to seek the Democratic Party’s nomination for mayor.
Freda declared his candidacy nearly a month before Lempert’s announcement.
“I believe it is healthy for government to change hands and officials to pass the baton,” Lempert said at the township’s Jan. 2 reorganization meeting, according to Patch.com. “Princeton is an extraordinary community with an abundance of thoughtful, talented, community-minded residents, and I believe that our future is bright.”
Lempert is a member of the Democratic Party. Among her contributions to the town of Princeton, as stated at the reorganization meeting, were the securing of a recurring annual dividend from the consolidation of Princeton Town and Princeton Borough, environmental and sustainability advocacy, formal recognition of the historic Witherspoon-Jackson neighborhood, and defense of individuals at a time of political unrest.
“I’ve never thought of it as being a lifetime position,” Lempert told The Daily Princetonian. “There’s not technically term limits, but … I love being mayor. This is an amazing town. I’m proud of the work that we’ve been able to do, and it’s just been a very active time for the government for a variety of reasons — first, because of consolidation, and trying to make sure that process was successful.”
Lempert also emphasized that she still has several months left in her term as mayor and hopes to make additional substantive contributions to the town until her term expires.
“This isn’t goodbye yet for me,” she said at the reorganization meeting. “A year is a long time, and I look forward to a supercharged year with this energetic council.”
Kristin Appelget, Director of the Office of Community and Regional Affairs at the University, expressed appreciation for Lempert’s effort to build and maintain open lines of communication between the campus and the town community.
“The annual meetings between the mayor and council and President [Christopher] Eisgruber [’83], for example, have presented valuable opportunities to discuss topics of joint interest,” Appelget wrote in an email statement to the ‘Prince.’
“In addition, both the University and municipality have benefited from her efforts to include Princeton students in the work of municipal government through initiatives such as student internships and Community Action,” she continued.
Lempert’s term will officially expire on Jan. 1, 2021.
Freda, the mayoral candidate, emphasized his long-standing role in Princeton’s governance.
“I have been very involved in the community for decades in many civic activities and politically,” Freda told the ‘Prince.’
“This is a logical step for me to attempt to continue my service to my community.”
Freda added that he would follow a “similar” approach to that of Lempert, aiming to do “the very best” he can for the Princeton community. He praised Lempert for her ongoing efforts to that end.
“I think it’s great [that] people are interested in running,” Lempert said, when asked to comment on Freda’s announcement. “I think it would be good for the community for there to be a real election for this. My hope and expectation is that there’d be interest from a lot of people who want to run.”