February 15, 2023

Writing in Support of Brian Hughes for Reelection to Mercer County Executive

To the Editor:

We are proud to support Brian Hughes for reelection to the post of Mercer County executive. Under his leadership, Mercer County has participated in preserving more than 5,700 acres of open space and farmland, including Princeton Ridge, along with federal, state, local and nonprofit partners.

During Brian’s tenure, there have been substantial upgrades to our county’s park system, which hosts more than 2 million visitors each year. Initiatives include expanded trail networks for hikers, cyclists, and pedestrians in Hamilton, Robbinsville, and West Windsor as well as conservation and recreation projects at Quarry Park in Hopewell Township and the Wharf Park in Trenton. The Mercer at Play Grants yielded for Princeton a skatepark, improvements to Mary Moss playground (with the popular spray feature), and will bring us our first adaptive playground in Hilltop Park. Recreational opportunities in every town in the county have been expanded by Brian’s administration, which also provides capital funds for new facilities for match by outside contributors.

Brian has also focused on providing infrastructure important to economic development and access to jobs, especially public transportation. Completion of much needed improvements to the Trenton-Mercer Airport — including a new and expanded terminal, air-traffic control tower, a firehouse and a 1,000-space parking garage — are in the works. He has also allocated over $1 million of ARPA funds for the expansion of transportation options throughout the county. These opportunities will complement the Route 130 Connection bus route that has improved access to jobs in eastern Mercer County.

Brian understands the importance of sustainability. County initiatives include tree plantings and reforestations, creation of pollinator habitats, and sustainable farming practices. The county is presently working with a grant consultant to identify opportunities for funding solar opportunities; it has installed 22 new electric vehicle chargers at county facilities and looking to install more; and it is assessing the footprint of the county fleet.

Brian’s leadership reflects the best of Democratic values. He has promoted government policies that are fair and inclusive. He has produced good union jobs. He has provided reliable public services and improved access to public transportation, kept our roads and bridges in good repair, and protected our environment. Working with the African American Chamber of Commerce, he has developed a Small Business Investment Program to reduce interest rates on loans and assist under-funded businesses of minorities and women. 

Brian’ leadership is also about courage. He suffers from a medical condition known as trigeminal neuralgia, which causes severe jaw pain and requires medication. We mention this because some have misinterpreted this condition as affecting his ability to serve. In fact, in his words, he is a “symbol of those who face challenges every day and overcome them.”

We think he is the best candidate to bring us together in meeting the challenges that face the county and finishing the good work he has begun.

Jo Butler
Hibben Road

Andrew Koontz
Spruce Street

Scotia Macrae
Evelyn Place

Butler is a former Princeton Councilwoman, Koontz is a former Princeton Borough Councilman and Mercer County commissioner (formerly freeholder), and MacRae is a former municipal chair of the Princeton Democratic Committee.