Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXV, No. 23
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
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Bipartisan Support For Jill Jachera In Mayoral Race

Anne Levin

Jill Jachera’s successful pursuit of the Republican nomination for Princeton Borough mayor was a write-in campaign that enlisted dissatisfied Democrats as well as Republicans. With her name now on the ballot for the November election, the 49-year-old lawyer is poised to run the race with bipartisan backing.

Ms. Jachera’s effort marks the first time in more than a decade that a Republican will challenge the Democratic Borough mayoral candidate in the November election. Several prominent Democrats have expressed their support.

“Jill is clearly a smart and personable woman who is a very credible candidate,” said Tom Byrne, a financial advisor who was Princeton Township’s municipal chairman for a month before being named Democratic State Chairman in the mid-1990s. “I think that a viable two-party system is healthy in any community. And in the current circumstances, she has a real chance to win.”

Former Princeton Township mayor Phyllis Marchand, also a Democrat, expressed similar sentiments. “I just think it’s wonderful that a qualified woman has offered her candidacy. It’s very refreshing,” she said. “This is a crucial time in the Borough and the Township on many issues, and to have someone so balanced, and with a fresh perspective, to run for office, is good. And on the local level, party affiliation should be obscured, because the issues facing municipal government are not partisan. And of course, the mayor represents the community.”

Philanthropists and devoted Democrats William and Judith Scheide have also decided to support Ms. Jachera. “I have always believed in a balanced political scene, and it can be dangerous when one party has total control for a long time over any situation,” Ms. Scheide said. “I think it’s time we had political diversity in Princeton, and that’s one of the reasons we are for Jill Jachera. She has an outstanding record as a community volunteer. Both Bill and I are happy that she is running and we will definitely back her up.”

Ms. Jachera, a Hodge Road resident who has lived in the Borough for 17 years, declared her candidacy on May 27. She has served on the Board of Directors of the YWCA of Princeton for nine years, two as board president. As chairman of the YWCA’s Strategic Planning Committee, Ms. Jachera was involved in the kind of negotiations with the YMCA that she likened to the continuing tensions between the Borough and Princeton University over the University’s proposed Arts, Education and Transit zone and relocation of the Dinky.

“There was animosity between the two, and our Board figured out how to have a truce,” she said. “That’s what I want to do with the University. We need to call a truce and move forward.”

An employment lawyer, Ms. Jachera retired from the law firm Morgan, Lewis, and Bockius two years ago to become a consultant for Morgan Lewis Resources, doing training in diversity and performance management.

“I’m a litigator, so part of what I do is to be able to see both sides of an argument, negotiate, and anticipate,” she said. “All the skills I have as a lawyer are the kinds of skills you would use as a mayor.”

Ms. Jachera’s experience as an employment lawyer also qualifies her for the job, she said. “I understand how you grow a business. We need someone who knows how to attract businesses and bring jobs. Currently, we are not a business-friendly community. The perspective is that the Borough is very hard to deal with.”

Two days before the election, Ms. Jachera said was encouraged by the support she was receiving for her efforts at obtaining the nomination. “People are coming out of the woodwork to help with the campaigns. These are Democrats as well as Republicans willing to rise above partisan politics and embrace a fresh approach,” she said. “Everybody is incredibly supportive and excited that Princeton might actually have a choice in November.”

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