For a number of years I have actively participated in local elections because I believe deeply in the adage that “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” I believe in taking personal responsibility for improvements one wants to see in one’s community, and in advancing national and global policy agendas through local action.
I have actively participated in numerous political campaigns, community organizing and grassroots-action initiatives, service projects and policy-making boards, never seeking a penny for my efforts. Earlier this year, I agreed to serve as campaign manager for Beth Mason on a volunteer basis. I took on this responsibility based on a long-standing friendship with Beth, having come to greatly admire her as crusader for important issues. Although I recognized that Dawn Zimmer shared a lot of Beth’s goals and values, I simply did not know her very well and believed Beth was better positioned to deliver on those goals.
Beth Mason remains a good friend of mine and someone I continue to respect and admire. Unfortunately, our campaign did not work out as expected.
I wholeheartedly agreed with Beth’s endorsement of Dawn in the runoff, and followed through on it by playing an active role in Dawn’s campaign. My experience there, too, was not as I expected. Despite any negative preconceptions I may have had based on having been in an adversarial relationship to the Zimmer campaign, Dawn and her team were warm, welcoming, appreciative, and most of all, very, very well-versed on the issues and gifted with impressive political instincts.
Dawn was surrounded by a positive group of people running a very positive campaign, and they demonstrated in both elections that it’s that kind of message that resonates with Hoboken voters.
On July 31, through a sequence of events she neither asked for nor celebrated, Dawn became acting mayor and began steering our city through an exceptionally tumultuous period. Despite the sideshow of a couple of politically booby-trapped council meetings, Dawn has handled her unexpected rise with incredible grace. In two short months, she has transformed Hoboken from a corruption poster child to a model of reform and operational-efficiency turnarounds, quickly fulfilling many campaign promises.
In her very first act as mayor, Dawn followed through on her transfer of Zoning Board appointment power to the City Council – a prescient act that would have prevented her predecessor from allegedly selling variances at the Malibu Diner, and despite claims that she wouldn’t make such a move if she were mayor.
As I’ve gotten to know Dawn personally, I have developed a great deal of respect for her. She is bright, on-the-ball, and a good friend. In all my dealings with her, she’s shown great integrity and always been willing to listen to my position whether she agreed or disagreed.
With all she’s accomplished in the past two months, Dawn is giving us hope that our darkest days are behind us. She has earned a full term, and she will have my vote on Nov. 3.