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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sept. 14, 2022
New Jersey League of Conservation Voters Announces Historic Number of Endorsements for County and Local Candidates
TRENTON — New Jersey League of Conservation Voters has announced endorsements of more than 80 candidates for county and local office across the state — a historic number and indicative of the importance of environmental policy in races at every level of government.
New Jersey LCV’s endorsements include slates for county commissioners in Middlesex, Morris, and Hunterdon Counties, as well as a slate of county commissioners and county executive in Bergen County.
But beyond these high-profile county races, New Jersey LCV has also endorsed 87 candidates in municipal races across New Jersey, ranging from Atlantic Highlands to Wantage.
New Jersey LCV announced these endorsements after receiving questionnaires from more than 100 candidates — another record.
“New Jersey LCV is proud to announce a strong slate of candidates for county and local offices across our state,” said Allison McLeod, New Jersey LCV Policy Director. “Local and county governments are on the front lines of tackling issues like flooding, water quality, and preserving open space. We need to elect environmental champions who will fight climate change and protect residents’ rights to clean air and safe drinking water.”
While the federal and state governments have been in the headlines in recent months promoting clean energy investments and pioneering offshore wind development, county and local governments play a critical role in environmental protection.
Local elected officials weigh in on land-use issues that impact sprawl. They are also responsible for mitigating flooding and improving water quality through the establishment of stormwater utilities. Municipal and county governments also play key roles in providing recreational opportunities to residents, investing in electric municipal vehicles and preserving open space.
New Jersey LCV announced these endorsements after a rigorous process that included questionnaires and interviews with candidates.
“New Jersey LCV takes our endorsement process seriously, and we don’t endorse candidates we don’t believe in. We ask specific questions to ensure they are committed to our agenda of protecting the environment,” said Julia Somers, New Jersey LCV Board Chair. “It is a multi-step evaluation process where we review candidates’ environmental credentials and vision for the state.”
Since beginning its local endorsement process in 2020 with 27 endorsements, New Jersey LCV has seen the number of candidates moving through the process grow exponentially. This demonstrates how critical environmental protection is to local residents. New Jersey LCV has invested in every local candidate who received an endorsement, a total investment of over $20,000 in local races alone.
“Every resident in our state is impacted by issues like clean air and water quality, open space preservation and well thought out land use decisions,” Somers added. “We are proud to see our educational work pay off as more and more candidates proudly run on platforms of environmental protection at the local level. We’re committed to growing our local endorsement program so that voters in municipalities across New Jersey know where candidates stand on vital issues that impact quality of life and public health.”
This year’s slate of candidates also represents extraordinary diversity — out of 87 candidates, 54% are women and 25% are candidates of color.
“While we are excited about the number of diverse environmental champions we endorsed this cycle, we continue to encourage candidates from both sides of the aisle to engage in our process,” McLeod added. “Protecting families’ rights to clean air, safe drinking water, and access to open space is not a partisan issue. These concerns are vital for the long-term health of our state and enjoy strong bipartisan support. We look forward to working with our environmental champions as they hit the campaign trail.”
A full list of the endorsements can be found here
Quotes from endorsed candidates are below, organized alphabetically by county and town:
Bergen County - County Executive Jim Tedesco, Commissioners Mary Amoroso, Germaine Ortiz, and Thomas Sullivan
“We are honored to receive New Jersey LCV’s endorsement and proud to earn this important recognition of our efforts to safeguard Bergen County’s environment and invaluable natural resources,” said Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco, and Commissioners Mary Amoroso, Germaine Ortiz, and Thomas Sullivan. “For the past eight years, it’s been a top priority of ours to protect clean air and clean water, preserve open space, and invest in our parks. From making conservation and sustainability key components of the county’s first ever Parks Master Plan, to greatly bolstering our Open Space Trust Fund, to investing in renewable energy and transitioning to electric and alternative fuel vehicles, we are proud of our progress taking care of the environment and building a healthy, safe and more sustainable future for Bergen County families.”
Glen Rock Council- Councilmember Teresa Gilbreath and Candidate Paula Gilligan
"We are thrilled to receive New Jersey LCV’s endorsement. Our commitment to protecting our environment extends throughout our personal and political lives, and it is an honor to have the support of this incredible organization as we implement and further environmental initiatives on the local level,” said Councilmember Teresa Gilbreath and Candidate Paula Gilligan.
Park Ridge Council- Council members Kelly Epstein and Robert Metzdorf
"Park Ridge is on the right path and with the support of colleagues like New Jersey LCV we can continue partnering with county and state officials to make our community even greener,” said Councilwoman Kelly Epstein and Councilman Robert Metzdorf.
Hasbrouck Heights - Candidates Gabby Mendoza and Jason Hodrinsky.
"As the mother of two young children and an educator there is no greater challenge for our future generations than to provide a safe and healthy town for them to live in. I know that working with advocacy groups like New Jersey LCV we can find solutions to our problems and build a greener community for us all,” said Borough Council Candidate Gabby Mendoza.
“New Jersey LCV is advocating for changes to state and local laws which will benefit every resident of Hasbrouck Heights. I am excited to have their endorsement and will work with them to preserve green spaces including parks and reduce suburban sprawl. Preserving these spaces reduces destructive flooding and promotes outdoor recreational activities and public health benefits,” said Borough Council Candidate Jason Hodrinsky.
Northvale Mayor- Councilman John Hogan
“I am so thankful for New Jersey LCV for endorsing and supporting my campaign! Sustainability is integral to our planet's future, and I look forward to coordinating with New Jersey LCV in the future,” said Councilman John Hogan.
Norwood Borough Council- Candidates Angie Alberti and Rahul Vaghasia
"We are excited to have New Jersey LCV's endorsement, demonstrating to voters that we are the candidates for Norwood's environmental future. Together, we will help ensure that we all continue to enjoy Norwood's natural beauty and leave it in a better place for the next generation,” said Candidates Angie Alberti and Rahul Vaghasia. “Having a strategic approach to safeguarding our natural resources, expanding electric vehicle charging and the use of electric vehicles for municipal purposes, and bringing innovative programs that inform our residents of environmental issues are priorities for us."
Woodcliff Lake Borough Council- Candidates Nikki Marsh and Ben Pollack
“Woodcliff Lake’s natural environment is what makes it one of the most desirable suburbs to live in. We’re proud to have New Jersey LCV’s endorsement as an emblem of our commitment to the local environment,” said Council Candidates Nikki Marsh and Ben Pollack.
Evesham Township Council- Mayor Veasy, Deputy Mayor Cooper, and Councilwoman Hansen
"We are honored to be endorsed by New Jersey LCV. We have been incredibly fortunate to be able to serve Evesham Township for the past four years as Mayor and Councilmembers, and have returned the trust the voters placed in us by investing our time and energy into strengthening our township's environmental infrastructure, implementing environmental policies, working towards conserving the last remaining portions of our town's open space, and empowering our community's environmental volunteers and advocates,” said Mayor Veasy, Deputy Mayor Cooper, and Councilwoman Hansen. “We greatly appreciate the League's recognition of our work and look forward to being able to move our town's environmental agenda forward to benefit current and future residents."
Hainesport Township Committee- Candidates Debra Harris and Anna Evans
“The Evans & Harris Campaign is delighted to have been endorsed by New Jersey LCV. It’s time for change in Hainesport that moves the Town towards a cleaner, greener future,” said Candidates Debra Harris and Anna Evans.
Moorestown Mayor and Council- Mayor Nicole Gillespie and Councilman Quinton Law
“I am deeply honored and grateful to be endorsed by New Jersey LCV,” said Mayor Nicole Gillespie. “Protecting the environment has been a priority in my first term on Moorestown Council, and I am committed to making even greater strides toward a greener future if I am reelected this year."
“It is truly an honor to have this endorsement. As local leaders it's on us to address the climate crisis with the utmost urgency. We must think creatively and provide innovative solutions to build a clean and safe environment for our communities." said Councilman Quinton Law.
Pemberton Borough Council- Candidate Steven Fenster
“As a long-time environmental advocate, I am very pleased and honored to accept New Jersey LCV's endorsement of my campaign for Pemberton Borough Council,” said Steven Fenster, Borough Council Candidate.
Westampton Township Committee- Committeeman Odise Carr
"I am proud to be endorsed by New Jersey LCV. Their commitment to environmental justice has helped push New Jersey forward. Clean air, safe drinking water, and open space are important environmental considerations that everyone can support,” said Committeeman Odise Carr.
Hunterdon Board of Commissioners- Candidates Hope Cohen and Don Becker
“We are immensely grateful for New Jersey LCV’s endorsement of our campaign. We admire their work to ensure clean air and water for all New Jerseyans as well as advocating smart policies to mitigate and prepare for climate change. We are honored that New Jersey LCV recognizes that our values and priorities align with theirs. We look forward to addressing issues of climate impact and environmental justice in Hunterdon County,” said Commissioner Candidates Hope Cohen and Don Becker.
High Bridge Borough Council- Councilman Christopher Graham
“I am honored and humbled to receive the endorsement of New Jersey LCV, and will do all I can to be worthy of such an honor,” said Councilman Christopher Graham.
Raritan Township Committee - Candidates John Mackay and Khushwant Pall
"I welcome the endorsement from an organization whose main objective is to build a better, more environmentally friendly New Jersey for all of the residents to enjoy,” said John Mackay, Candidate for Raritan Township Committee.
"I am honored to have received an endorsement from New Jersey LCV. To me the title does not mean anything, it is what I do with it for others that matters,” said his running mate, Khushwant Pall.
Stockton Borough Council - Candidate Thomas Hunt
"I am delighted to have earned the endorsement of New Jersey LCV. This endorsement reflects my commitment to working collaboratively with the Council, citizens, and other State and local officials to strive for measures that help the environment and promote social justice, within our Borough's limited capacities,” said Candidate Thomas Hunt.
Mercer County Commissioner - Cathleen Lewis, Lawrence Township Councilmember and Candidate for Mercer County Commissioner
“Creating a more sustainable future is imperative for future generations. I'm proud to work on these issues in Mercer County and proud that my work has earned the support of New Jersey LCV.” said Councilwoman Cathleen Lewis, Candidate for Mercer County Commissioner
Hopewell Township - Committeeman David Chait and Mayor Courtney Peters-Manning
“New Jersey LCV is our state’s champion for the environment, and I am proud to have their endorsement. As a member of the Hopewell Township Committee, I have been a proud supporter of policies that preserve open space and safeguard our environment. I look forward to continuing this work in the future and working in partnership with New Jersey LCV,” said Committeeman David Chait.
"The New Jersey League of Conservation Voters serves as the voice for the environment in New Jersey politics, and I am proud to have received their endorsement,” said Mayor Courtney Peters-Manning. “I have been an environmentalist my entire life, and I have worked hard on many fronts to preserve and protect our shared environment and open space. I am excited for the opportunity to continue this work in partnership with New Jersey LCV.”
Middlesex County Board of Commissioners- Commissioners Charles Kenny, Clary Azcona-Barber, and Chanelle Scott McCullum
“We are incredibly proud to have received the endorsement of the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters. New Jersey LCV has proved themselves to be effective and passionate advocates for the environment. We will continue to work diligently as County Commissioners to preserve our open space, protect our environment from pollution, reduce fossil fuel consumption, and invest in sustainable infrastructure and public transportation. Under our watch, Middlesex County will continue to be a pioneer in conservation and environmental issues,” said Commissioners Charles Kenny, Clary Azcona-Barber, and Chanelle Scott McCullum
Highland Park - Borough Councilmen Matthew Hale and Philip George
“New Jersey LCV started fighting for our environment when doing that wasn't common. We are honored to be endorsed by an organization as trusted and respected as New Jersey LCV. It is a recognition of the hard work we have done, like building downtown rain gardens, leading the state on banning plastic bags, bringing more electric vehicle charging stations to Highland Park, and making sure our town stays walkable and bike friendly. We will continue to do all we can to make Highland Park, New Jersey and our planet even more sustainable,” said Borough Councilmen Matthew Hale and Philip George.
Sayreville Borough Council - Candidate Damon Enriquez
“I am proud to be endorsed by New Jersey LCV, and I look forward to working with them to ensure Sayreville is an environmentally friendly town,” said Borough Council Candidate Damon Enriquez.
Atlantic Highlands Borough Council - Candidate Vito Colasurdo
“I am honored to receive the endorsement of New Jersey LCV,” said Borough Council Candidate Vito Colasurdo. “I look forward to working with them to make Atlantic Highlands a more sustainable community for future generations of residents.”
Keyport Borough Mayor and Council - Councilwoman Victoria Pacheco, Mayoral Candidate; Delia Sosa McDermott, Councilwoman; and Danielle Mastropiero, Council Candidate
“We are grateful for the endorsement of New Jersey LCV. We are fortunate to live in a state that represents diversity in nature, cultures, and policy. We advocate for public programs and projects that support smart development, community, and infrastructure growth. We understand and are engaged with all members of our community, and with the support of New Jersey LCV, we know Keyport will continue to succeed,” said Mayoral Candidate Councilwoman Victoria Pacheco, Councilwoman Delia Sosa McDermott, and Council Candidate Danielle Mastropiero.
Red Bank Borough Mayor - Candidate Billy Portman
"I'm very grateful for the endorsement of New Jersey LCV, and I am optimistic that we can implement some changes, right now, to make our borough more energy efficient and environmentally friendly,” said Mayoral Candidate Billy Portman.
Morris County Board of Commissioners - Candidates T.C McCourt, Judy Hernandez, and Alicia Sharma.
“The three of us are ecstatic to have the support of the New Jersey LCV. Their elevation of the environment as a top political issue, and their support of candidates, doesn’t just raise awareness - it makes a difference,” said Commissioner Candidates T.C. McCourt, Judy Hernandez, and Alicia Sharma. “We believe anyone that seeks to hold elected office should be leading with the environment and creating a sustainable future, because environmental issues intersect with all of our most pressing concerns. Our planet is on the ballot this November, and this election will set the tone on how our county handles the climate crisis for decades to come. We look forward to working with New Jersey LCV on moving Morris County and the rest of the state toward a more sustainable future.”
Boonton Town Council- Councilwoman Marie DeVenezia, and Council Candidates Benjamin Weisman, Lauren Mills, and Anne Mizera
As the "gem of the mountains" in the beautiful Highlands forest, Boonton's natural resources make it an appealing place to work, live and play. In these pivotal times, we need a local government that prioritizes protecting nature while also encouraging smart, responsible development. Thank you to New Jersey LCV for recognizing that our team is willing to balance both. We look forward to working together toward a bright, sustainable future,” said Councilwoman Marie DeVenezia, and Council Candidates Benjamin Weisman, Lauren Mills, and Anne Mizera.
Town of Dover Board of Alderman
"We are honored to receive the endorsement of the New Jersey LCV and are committed to supporting legislation and initiatives that prioritize environmental issues and sustainability in our community,” said Alderwoman Sandra Wittner and Candidates Karol Ruiz and Marcos Tapia Aguilar Sr.
Madison Borough Council- Councilwoman Rachel Ehrlich and Candidate Tom Haralampoudis
“We are committed to seeking a conservation sale of the Drew Forest, a rare, 53-acre preserve in Madison. The forest is located on the Drew University campus and provides the public with walking trails, access to rare understory and canopy ecologies, and some of the oldest trees in Morris County,” said Councilwoman Rachel Ehrlich and Candidate Tom Haralampoudis. “It is essential for aquifer recharge and habitat preservation. We support a conservation sale to permanently protect the Drew Forest while providing Drew University with financial support."
Mendham Borough Council- Mayoral Candidate Melissa Rawley-Payne, Council Candidates Melissa Wojcik and Melissa Young
“We are extremely honored to receive an endorsement from New Jersey LCV. We look forward to being champions of environmental policies at the local level that protect and restore our precious natural resources,” said Mayoral Candidate Melissa Rawley-Payne and Council Candidates Melissa Wojcik and Melissa Young.
Mendham Township Committee - Candidates Martin Slayne and Lauren Spirig
"We are thrilled to be recognized by New Jersey LCV as the candidates most authentically committed to the protection of Mendham Township's beautiful, thriving environment,” said Candidates Martin Slayne and Lauren Spirig. “We oppose the ongoing attempts to develop hundreds of new homes in the township because of the strain it will put on our local services, our limited natural resources, and our wildlife. We will continue to fight to protect and preserve open spaces in Mendham Township."
Morris Plains Borough Council- Councilwomen Nancy Verga and Joan Goddard
"We are honored to receive an endorsement from New Jersey LCV and look forward to partnering with them to advance environmental stewardship in the Borough of Morris Plains! As elected officials on the council, we have encouraged the Borough to apply for grants to expand open space, add walking trails, and purchase electric vehicles and charging stations. We are actively advocating for a formal sustainability committee to analyze, plan, and implement initiatives that will reduce carbon emissions, migrate to clean energy, and protect the local environment for future generations,” said Councilwomen Nancy Verga and Joan Goddard.
Morris Township Committee- Candidate Jeff Grayzel
"I am committed to working on policies and initiatives to improve water quality and air quality in our communities. I'm proud to stand with New Jersey LCV to advocate for a healthy environment in New Jersey which, in turn, will benefit the health of all of our residents,” said Candidate Jeff Grayzel.
Netcong- Councilman Robert Hathaway
"We all share the responsibility to protect our environment for future generations to enjoy,” said Councilman Robert Hathaway.
Barnegat Township Committee- Candidate Charles Cunliffe
"I am proud that New Jersey LCV has endorsed my campaign for Barnegat Township Committee, the work of New Jersey LCV is essential to the protection of our local environment,” said Candidate Charles Cunliffe.
Lacey Township Committee- Candidate Edward Kownacki
"I am excited to receive New Jersey LCV’s endorsement, and I look forward to working together to achieve the goal of a cleaner environment,” said Candidate Edward Kownacki.
Haledon Mayor Race- Candidate Michael Johnson
“With good people elected, we will have good government!” said Candidate Michael Johnson.
Ringwood Borough Council- Candidate Eric Gillman
“I am excited to be endorsed by New Jersey LCV. Conservation of our natural resources is a major priority for me and their endorsement exemplifies that mission,” said Candidate Eric Gillman.
Wanaque Mayor- Mayoral Candidate Sandy Lawson
"I am honored to receive the endorsement of New Jersey LCV. Being the host town to the Wanaque Reservoir, I look forward to working to make Wanaque Borough an environmentally responsible place to live,” said Mayoral Candidate Sandy Lawson.
West Milford Town Council- Candidates Melissa Brown Blaeuer and Karen Phelan
"We are proud to have the endorsement of New Jersey LCV behind our campaign because we, too, are strong advocates for using clean energy sources, protecting our environment, and fostering a healthy, vibrant economy where all people can thrive. Working together, we can create the future we all want and deserve,” said Candidates Melissa Brown Blaeuer and Karen Phelan.
Somerset County Board of Commissioners - Commissioner Melonie Marano
“I am honored to receive the endorsement of New Jersey LCV and thank them for their perseverance in preserving and protecting our earth,” said Commissioner Melonie Marano. “By researching which elected officials are ready to work on these ideals, the public can make informed choices at the ballot box.”
Bernards Township Committee - Candidate Jessica Simpson-Cook
“I am so honored and proud to be endorsed by New Jersey LCV. I am committed to action within my community if elected, and that includes being proactive about the environmental needs and concerns of our town and our residents,” said Committee Candidate Jessica Simpson-Cook.
Bernardsville Borough Council - Candidate Kerry Haselton
"I'm thrilled to receive the endorsement of New Jersey LCV. I'm proud of the work I've done in support of New Jersey's environment, and to be recognized in this way makes my heart sing,” said Borough Council Candidate Kerry Haselton.
Green Brook Township Committee - Committeeman Arthur Goodman and Candidate Jen Dawson
“We are grateful to New Jersey LCV for their endorsement of our candidacy. We encourage you to support their environmental work in any way possible, including in Green Brook Township. We only have one Earth!” said Committeeman Arthur Goodman and Candidate Jen Dawson.
Raritan Borough Council - Candidates Joe Kempe and Adam Armahizer
“We have long been advocates for sustainable and equitable open spaces, parks, and transportation,” said Council Candidates Joe Kempe and Adam Armahizer. “New Jersey LCV's endorsement of our candidacy supports our platform for Raritan Borough as a town with a clean, safe, and accessible future that provides a better environment for all.”
Watchung Borough Council - Councilmember Wendy Robinson
“I am honored and humbled by the endorsement of New Jersey LCV. Their efforts to promote strong environmental policies and support like-minded candidates are crucial as we face unprecedented challenges from the climate crisis,” said Councilmember Wendy Robinson. “Having worked tirelessly for many years to protect against the dangers posed by fossil fuel extraction, being a liaison to the Environmental Commission and Green Team over the entirety of my service on the Borough Council, and promoting numerous programs to foster sustainability in Watchung makes this endorsement especially rewarding.”
Berkeley Heights Township - Mayor Angie Devanney, Council Candidate Susan Lee Poage, Council Candidate Diomedes Tsitouras
“I am humbled and honored to have the endorsement of New Jersey LVC. My work in government has centered around protecting and saving open spaces while enhancing park land for future generations. I am eager to continue this work with the assistance and support of New Jersey LCV,” said Mayor Angie Devanney.
“As Margaret Mead said, ‘We won’t have a society if we destroy the environment.’ I am honored to have the endorsement of New Jersey LCV. They, like me, are committed to making sure we protect our environment—our land, our air, and our water—for all people. Human rights and the environment are interconnected and integral to the survival of our society,” said Council Candidate Susan Lee Poage.
"I am pleased to have the endorsement of New Jersey LCV for my candidacy for Berkeley Heights Town Council,” said Council Candidate Diomedes Tsitouras. “I am ready to advocate for measures that combat the climate change crisis, as well as to protect and expand our existing green spaces."
Plainfield City Council - Richard Wyatt, City Council Candidate
“It is an honor and privilege to receive the endorsement of New Jersey LCV. I look forward to working with them to combat climate change and promote a clean, healthy environment for my constituents and the future,” said City Council Candidate Richard Wyatt.
Washington Borough Council- Councilwoman Josephine Noone
“I am proud to receive the endorsement of New Jersey LCV and I am committed to environmental justice and sustainable development,” said Councilwoman Josephine Noone.