Walter Clarke, a member of the South Orange Village Board of Trustees, issued the following statement on Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021:
When I took the oath of office for the first time in 2013, I did so in a 19th century building that served as Village Hall and then sat in a squeaky, oversized leather swivel chair to get to work as a trustee. Now I speak to my colleagues on the Board of Trustees virtually from my dining room.
In our Village and in our country a great deal has changed in the past 8 years. Some good, some bad, but I feel honored by the opportunity to shape what I could as a Village Trustee and grateful for the experience.
Throughout my time in office I have been concerned with issues of sustainability, infrastructure, and maintaining and advancing the unique, diverse culture of our village. I’ve championed various local environmental efforts for plastic and waste reduction, greener energy, worked with the Community Coalition on Race, helped transition the water system, improved forestry management, established new committees, and worked with law enforcement on pedestrian safety, to name a few. These efforts have been enriching and mind expanding but none have been done alone nor would they have been possible without a wide variety of colleagues, confidants, volunteers, advisors, co-conspirators, worker bees, visionaries, agitators, professionals, and motivated individuals (like minded and not).
In short, a Village.
The list of people who have been instrumental to me is too long and I am too likely to miss someone, so I won’t name names but will instead say that South Orange is home to many talented and exceptional people and I have been fortunate to work with many of them to make our community better. I will leave public office believing that things in South Orange are a little better for my efforts and knowing that there are talented leaders who can continue to improve our community and are ready to do so.