LETTER: Hilton, Haskins & Brown are Knowledgeable, Experienced, and Passionate

by Judith Chelius Stark
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Dear Editor,

I am very pleased to offer this letter of endorsement for three exemplary candidates for the South Orange Board of Trustees in the May 11 election.  They are Karen Hartshorn Hilton, Bill Haskins, and Bobby Brown.  Over the last 5-10 years, I have seen both Karen and Bill in action and have been impressed with their knowledge, experience, passionate commitments, and devotion to the improvement of South Orange in so many ways.

I have been privileged to serve with Karen on the Foundation for the South Orange Public Library since 2017 when she served as the chair and now as a  member of the Foundation.  She provided outstanding leadership as the Foundation worked on the formidable task of re-visioning the Library as a central and unique community resource.  I cannot imagine where our work would be now without her calm and persistent leadership.  I know that she is running for another term on the Board of Trustees for the Village and I can only imagine that she brings her same talents to her work there as well.

Bill Haskins is an outstanding environmental leader in South Orange and has been committed to all things environmental for many years as a member of the Environmental Commission and the Green Team.  I know and deeply appreciate his work there and I am also very grateful for the many projects he has shepherded with my environmental studies majors at Seton Hall.  His creativity, energy, and knowledge have been tremendous assets for my students as they learn to appreciate the maxim to “Think Globally and Act Locally.”  Bill is our local environmental guru and I know my students and I have learned a great deal as we worked with him over the years.  He will bring the environmental lens to discussions and decisions on the Board of Trustees as South Orange continues to work toward sustainability and environmental justice going forward.

I have not worked directly with Braynard “Bobby” Brown, but have seen the evidence of his excellent work as chair of the South Orange Community Police Collaborative.  I have participated in some online seminars that have were sponsored by the Collaborative and some faculty members at Seton Hall.  They are substantive, enlightening, and challenging and so timely as we re-think community policing and as we struggle with race and inequities locally and nationally.  I have every confidence that Bobby’s energy and expertise will be tremendous assets to the Board of Trustees here in South Orange.

Finally, two of these candidates have proven records of active collaboration with Seton Hall.  As a 25 year resident of South Orange with a 40-year teaching career at Seton Hall, I hope these collaborations can be expanded and strengthened going forward.

I enthusiastically endorse Karen, Bill, and Bobby for election to the South Orange Board of Trustees.  They are excellent candidates for these challenging times.

Judith Chelius Stark, Ph.D.

South Orange, NJ

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