Only one member of West Windsor Council whose seat is up for election this fall is running for reelection.
Alison Miller, who currently serves as council president, told The News that she intends to run in the Nov. 5 election.
A total of three four-year seats are up this year. Incumbents Ayesha Hamilton and Yingchao “YZ” Zhang both told The News in emails that they won’t be running.
Although West Windsor elections are non-partisan, they are held concurrently with the general election.
Also, the township’s Republican and Democratic committees sometimes choose slates of candidates to run in the local elections.
According to sources, Miller and both of her running mates were chosen via a vote by members of the local Democratic Municipal Committee and the Democratic Club.
Miller said that her two running mates have been chosen but they are not yet ready to make an announcement. “We hope to have a write-up when people are back from vacation,” Miller said.
Miller, a certified planner, was elected to council in 2015, but previously served on the governing body from 1993 to 1999 and 2001 to 2005. She was a member of the first West Windsor Council following the change in government from township committee form to mayor-council in 1993.
Miller has also served as a member of the West Windsor Parking Authority, Affordable Housing Committee, Friends of West Windsor Open Space and the West Windsor Bicycle & Pedestrian Alliance.
Hamilton, who is finishing up her only term on the governing body, said that she is not running because she feels it’s time to move on.
“These past four years has taught me that while I loved being in public service, I really missed my law practice,” Hamilton said. “The distraction of politics prevented me from being able to devote time and energy to my first love—the law.”
“While I am truly grateful for the opportunity to serve West Windsor and for the lovely friends and neighbors that I have met in this journey, its time for someone else to take up the mantle of asking questions and developing an accountability structure so that council isn’t just operating as a rubber stamp (to the mayor).”
She added, “Under our form of government, council, as the legislative body, forms a crucial part of the checks and balances that we seek in a healthy democracy, which start at the local level.”
Zhang has served on council since last November, when he was elected to fill the remaining year of the seat vacated by Hemant Marathe when he was elected mayor.
Zhang said that a new opportunity has arisen that will preclude him from serving on council and he will be focusing his priorities on “business, technology and entrepreneurship.”
“I’m joining a technology startup, and will be too busy later this year and the next couple of years to focus on election campaign and public service,” he said. “But I won’t disappear. I will stay involved in manageable capacity.”
Miller and her running mates will be up against a slate of candidates that announced in mid-June—Andrea Sue Mandel, Sonia Gawas and Michael Stevens. Their campaign manager, Gene O’Brien, said the township Republican Municipal Committee and Republican Club were not involved in selecting the slate, and that people from both parties were involved in the selection process.
There’s still time for other candidates to announce as well. The filing deadline for candidates to file nominating positions with the Mercer County Clerk’s Office is Tuesday, Sept. 3.