LETTER: South Orange Trustee Summer Jones Endorses Hilton, Haskins & Brown

by Summer Jones
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Dear Editor,

I am writing to offer my support (AND MY ENTHUSIASTIC VOTE) for Line B – Hilton, Haskins and Brown for the 3 open South Orange Trustee positions.  I have had the honor of serving with Trustee Karen Hartshorn Hilton since I was elected in 2019.  During the two years that I have worked alongside her, I have learned so much on navigating being an elected official with her in-depth knowledge of different portions of the community.  

As the Chair for the Recreation and Cultural Affairs committee, I have worked directly with Trustee Hilton and have relied on her heavily with her in-depth knowledge as the lead on the Baird Construction project, liaison to Senior Recreational programming and her direct experience as a parent that utilized our recreational services throughout their childhood which included our summer camps, swimming pools and playgrounds.  This especially came in handy as Trustee Hilton gave me guidance on the upgrade process of Carter Park, which is a project near and dear to my heart.  When Trustee Clarke and Trustee Schnall decided not to run for re-election, it saddened me to know that we were losing two very strong and dedicated Trustees but I was excited to know that Trustee Hilton was running for reelection again. While we all focus on specific statutory Trustee Committees, we all are liaisons of advisory committees that become close to our heart.  I have seen Trustee Hilton go to bat as a very hands-on liaison with our Public Library, Senior Services and helping on issues with historical aspects of the town. 

With Trustee Clarke leaving, it leaves a big gap in our Trustee pool when it comes to in-depth knowledge of the environment, utilities, and public works.  While we are all knowledgeable about the projects and issues, Trustee Clarke lived and breathed all of these things.  When I heard Bill Haskins was running, I was comforted knowing that I have seen him in action with getting things accomplished as the Chair of the Environmental Commission. During my first budget season, Mr. Haskins presented to the Board for funding for the next year and gave funding back as the Environmental Commission under his leadership was able to secure grants to offset cost that the town was providing. Outside of seeing Mr. Haskins planting trees and loving the environment, he is an experienced Construction Project Manager and that would be a helpful skill set as a South Orange Trustee. 

I was very impressed with Bobby Brown as an opponent when I ran against him in 2019, where he focused on ensuring equality and safety for our children when it comes to race relations. When we established the Community Police Collaborative, we appointed him as the Chair for this advisory committee.  Through his collaboration with our South Orange Police Department, he has been actively trying to establish community engagement between the Police and the community during COVID. As a resident and community member, he has taken part in several town panel discussions including as a moderator as well as a panelist in a two-part series on Sports and Social Change.  Bobby Brown is very personable and creates great relationships both within and outside of the community. With his attorney background, I have seen him take a deeper look at policies and issues that affect our community.  He will be a welcome addition to deepen our current bench of Trustees.

As a current South Orange Village Trustee, I took part in several forums so that I could get an accurate assessment of the four candidates to determine who would bring the much needed skills to the Board.  As a homeowner in South Orange, I also wanted to make sure that the candidates running knew what being a Trustee encompasses to lead us well into the future. It is very important for our town to have the right Trustees in place as we have many amazing projects, issues and transitions happening within our community. Anyone running should be aware of the time and commitments involved along with the issues that are important to each of our residents who have their own causes. The three candidates that are ready to be immediately focused on the town as a whole are Line B – Trustee Karen Hartshorn Hilton, Bill Haskins and Bobby Brown and I would be proud to work side by side with them!

Summer Jones
Village Trustee
South Orange, NJ

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