HOPEWELL TOWNSHIP: Lester has overcome Dems’ financial failings

Jon Edwards, Hopewell Township
Several letters to the editor last week criticized the mayor’s handling of our township’s finances.
Really? Mayor Lester inherited a budget that had bond payments suddenly due for past excesses, notably the 2008 committee’s Pennytown $6.5 million purchase. And of course, there was the unanticipated fire in the Public Works building. Despite those headwinds we continue to have the lowest municipal tax rate in Mercer County, he maintained the township’s AAA bond rating, and the mayor succeeded in recovering approximately $700,000 from the state for our affordable housing efforts. These were earned accomplishments, the product of 14 budget meetings that were open to the public and which scrutinized the budget line-by-line.
Kudos to Mayor Lester!
As an informed observer of township affairs, Harvey Lester is the real deal, the natural inheritor of our “old-guard” dedication to smart, limited development in Hopewell Valley. He did not desert the ideals of our Democratic Party. There are still many remarkable Democrats and independents and Republicans on the township’s boards and commissions. Rather, he left the local Democratic Party when the Democratic Party’s leadership failed to fight effectively against overdevelopment. Notably witness their extravagant and ill-conceived Pennytown-Kooltronics scheme, and Harvey Lester’s brave opposition to it.
In 1998, I was the first Democrat to run for the Township Committee in seven years. In 1999 when I won my first seat, I was the first Democrat to win a seat in 21 years. Like Harvey Lester, I ran primarily to limit development. Now, well in my political retirement, I strongly endorse Harvey Lester and urge all Democrats, independents, and Republicans to vote for him. Hard work, dedication, and honed values should easily trump local party politics. 
Jon Edwards 
Hopewell Township 