January 13, 2021

Eve Niedergang Announces Council Re-election Campaign, Leighton Newlin to Run

By Anne Levin

Princeton Councilwoman Eve Niedergang has announced she will run for re-election in the June 8, 2021 Democratic primary. Leighton Newlin, co-chair of the Witherspoon-Jackson Neighborhood Association and chair of the Princeton Housing Authority Board of Commissioners for the last 19 years, announced Tuesday that he will run for a Council seat.

There are two three-year terms on the ballot this year. Councilman Dwaine Williamson has announced that he will not run for a second term.

Now in her third year on the governing body, Niedergang has served as liaison to the Environmental Commission, the Board of Health, Local Emergency Planning Committee, Personnel Committee, Public Works Committee, Senior Resource Center, Shade Tree Commission, and Sewer Operating Committee.

“I am grateful for the trust and confidence that so many of you placed in me when I ran for election in 2018, and I am asking for your support in 2021,” she said in a press release. “I am here to listen to you and to work collaboratively with residents, colleagues, and staff to achieve the best outcomes for this community which I love and of which I am so proud to be a part.”

Former Councilman Lance Liverman is co-chairing Niedergang’s current campaign. “Because of my many years on Council I know how important it is to navigate roadblocks; Eve excels at this,” he said. “Eve has demonstrated compassion and thoughtfulness in dealing with some of our towns most sensitive issues. I fully support her, and I’m honored to co-chair her re-election campaign.”

Niedergang, who is volunteer coordinator at The Watershed Institute, is especially enthused about a new 2021 environmental justice initiative that involves working with local landscapers to adopt more sustainable lawn care practices, and will hopefully result in a reduction in the use of gas leaf blowers through both education and regulation. “The recent movement to address racial inequality and the marginalization of the underrepresented has made it clear we need to do more to include those voices in policies and programs,” she said. “This initiative will allow us to engage directly with the landscaping community to ensure that they are involved in designing solutions that will benefit them as well as our environment.”

Newlin was born and raised in Princeton, attended Princeton Public Schools, and graduated from Princeton High School in 1969. He graduated from Lincoln University in 1973 with a bachelor’s degree in English. Shirley Satterfield, Newlin’s campaign chair, said, “As a resident of this historic town, the town of his birth, Leighton Newlin has long been a committed foot soldier for justice, diversity, and equality. I am confident that, as a member of Princeton Council, Leighton will serve with equal passion and commitment to the well-being of our entire community.”

Newlin recently retired after almost three decades as director of special services at a Residential Community Release Program in Newark that provided education and training to individuals preparing to re-enter society, as well as counseling focused on changing criminal and addictive behavior. As director, he was responsible for all aspects of administration and communication as well as managing a Community Advisory Board comprised of a network of community partners in the areas of labor, education, human, and social services in order to ensure maximum re-entry support.

Newlin’s campaign treasurer is Kate Warren. Others on his team include Linda Oppenheim, Bill Schofield, Ross Wishnick, Darius Young, Patricia Soll, and Dana Hughes-Morehead.

From 2014-2016 Newlin was part of a local group that worked successfully to have the Witherspoon-Jackson neighborhood designated as Princeton’s 20th Historic District. In addition to his work with the Witherspoon-Jackson Neighborhood Association, he serves on the boards of the Witherspoon-Jackson Historical and Cultural Society, and The Paul Robeson House. Newlin is serving his second term as an elected member of the Princeton Democratic Municipal Committee and recently stepped down from the Princeton Community Democratic Organization (PCDO) executive board in order to run for office.

“We Democrats have a lot to celebrate at this time, but we need to work quickly to repair the damage of the last four years and to renew our commitment at the local level to ensure that every decision is viewed through the lens of equity, diversity, and inclusion,” he said in a press release. “I believe that Princeton’s leadership should reflect its people and that diversity on Princeton Council is necessary, critical, and beneficial. I also believe that my track record in community activism, and service, my skill set, background, and experience make me an ideal candidate for a position in local leadership.”

Williamson said in a statement, “It has been a pleasure serving our extraordinary town on Council since January 2019. Our collective resiliency in responding to the very unusual operating environment of the pandemic in 2020 only increases my gratitude to have such learned, compassionate, and committed persons to serve amongst. For 2021, I look forward to working with Mayor Freda, Council President Fraga, my fellow Council colleagues, our municipal BCCs, and of course you, the people of Princeton, to defeat this pandemic and make our wonderful town even better.”

Williamson said he enjoyed serving with former Mayor Liz Lempert, former Council President Jenny Crumiller, and former Councilman Tim Quinn.

“During my time as Councilman, we have accomplished many things including successfully completing the litigation aspect of our third-round affordable housing mandate, delivering a Climate Action Plan, maintaining Princeton’s AAA credit rating, and so many more things as were reiterated during last week’s reorganization meeting,” said Williamson. “Nothing evidences our collective humanity better than the fact that we viewed all our policy decisions through a lens of equity and with the consideration of how our policies affect the most vulnerable of our residents. As my final year on Council unfolds, I expect it to draw the people of Princeton closer to my heart. Thank you for being such wonderful colleagues, neighbors, friends, and constituents.”

Updated January 15.