The race for South Orange Village President became a contested election in the last 24 hours.
The deadline for prospective candidates to submit petitions to the Village Clerk to be certified to run was the end of the day Monday. Candidates are required to get 123 signatures of South Orange residents eligible to vote in order for their petitions to be declared valid.
Hours before Monday’s deadline, longtime South Orange resident and attorney Emily Hynes filed to run for Village President. Village Clerk Susan Caljean confirmed Tuesday afternoon that Hynes’s petition was certified.
Hynes will face off against current Trustee Sheena Collum, who is running on a ticket with incumbents and fellow trustees Howard Levison, Deborah Davis Ford and Mark Rosner, all of whom are running for another term as trustees.
Another potential candidate, Alisa Aronson had picked up petitions to run for VP and Trustee, but did not submit them because she failed to get enough signatures, said Caljean. The election is May 12, 2015.
Reached by phone on Tuesday morning, Hynes said she was persuaded to run when a number of people approached her over the weekend and asked her to throw her hat in the ring. She spent the weekend scrambling to garner the 123 signatures needed.
“I’m so honored by the tremendous support I received in just the last 48 hours from people in the Village,” said Hynes, who is running under the campaign “Smart Growth for South Orange.”
In a press release, Hynes said, “The growth of our village needs to be managed carefully with an eye toward long-term priorities, not simply short-term gain. I will focus on moving South Orange Village forward in a smart and sustainable way.”
Hynes has lived in South Orange for over ten years with her husband and two children, both in the public school system. A graduate of St. John’s University School of Law, Hynes practiced law in New York and New Jersey before working for AIG where she handled mass tort litigation. She recently left AIG to pursue a career in real estate and focus on her family and community volunteer work.
It is believed this will be the first time a woman will serve as South Orange’s Village President, said Caljean, though that could not be confirmed.