Rosenberg, Harinxma to exit after one term
By Vic Monaco, Managing Editor
HIGHTSTOWN — Less than three years after taking on their first political roles, Democratic Borough Council members Ryan Rosenberg and Constance Harinxma have decided they will not seek re-election later this year.
Both cited time constraints, but Mr. Rosenberg says his decision does not mean he won’t remain very active in the borough.
”There are projects in town that I would like to concentrate on. Right now I feel like I’m in an inch deep and a mile wide. I’m a project-oriented person and I feel I can add value to a couple different things I’ve become interested in.”
Mostly, he said, that comprises work for the Environmental Commission and the Economic Development Committee. As liaison to the Environmental Commission, he started a Clean and Green team that performs community cleanups.
”I want to flush that out,” he said of the Clean and Green Team. “Right now, we’re running a cleanup twice a year. There’s a lot of work to be done.”
In addition, Mr. Rosenberg has been developing a Web site for the EDC, the goal of which is to promote Hightstown.
”Considering that I’m a graphic designer, I can lend value to that area,” he said.
”I’m not going away; I’m just refocusing.”
Mr. Rosenberg, 31, said the change also will mean he can concentrate more on his graphic design business and his artwork (see related story on this page 1A).
”This was a tough decision,” he said of not seeking re-election. “I have so many things going on in my life.”
Mr. Rosenberg and Ms. Harinxma fondly referred to their stints on council, in their third years, as a “learning experience.”
Ms. Harinxma said her decision was largely made because she foresees increased responsibilities with her job at Family and Children Services of New Jersey and wants to still have time for her family.
She said she was most pleased with her efforts to increase recreational activities, including summer concerts and a pilates class.
”I’d like to stay involved with the Parks and Recreation Commission,” she said, while commending its members along with township employees and volunteers who have helped her.
Torry Watkins, chairman of the Democratic Municipal Committee, said he respects the decisions of Mr. Rosenberg and Ms. Harinxma.
”People’s personal lives have to come first in their order of priorities,” he said.
He declined to comment on their service, saying it was premature to talk about them in the past tense.
”They’ve got 10 months left and a lot can happen in 10 months,” he said.
Nonetheless, Mr. Watkins said the Hightstown Democratic Committee has begun seeking candidates to run in the primary election in June.
Prospective candidates are urged to contact the committee and can do so through Mr. Watkins, at 448-7647, Democratic Club President Chris Moraitis, at 448-6685, or any Borough Council member.
”This is a loss to the younger demographic in town and speaks volumes regarding the time commitment involved in public service,” Mr. Moraitis said of the decisions by the two Democratic council members. “My hope is that we can find candidates who are also representative of our borough’s demographics willing to fill the vacancies.”
Borough Council President Walter Sikorski said, “I’m disappointed that both council members decided not to seek re-election because I was helpful in getting them to run in the first place. I think we’ll miss Constance’s leadership in the area of recreation, and the summer concert series and those exercise classes she organized for the community, and I will miss Ryan’s commitment to environmental issues and his work on the Economic Development Committee.”