Lessons to Learn from Local Mayoral Election

In+a+tight+race+of+1729+to+1611%2C+incumbent+Republican+candidate+David+Higgins+was+reelected+as+Washington+Borough%27s+mayor.+

Photo by Samantha Lewis

In a tight race of 1729 to 1611, incumbent Republican candidate David Higgins was reelected as Washington Borough’s mayor.

Samantha Lewis, Opinion Editor

Incumbent Republican  David Higgins and Democratic  Councilwoman Josephine Noon were vying for Washington Borough’s Mayoral election this Nov. 

Higgins is a lifelong resident of Washington Borough and a Warren Hills Alumnus, has served on the town council for over 18 years, six of those as mayor.

Noone has been a resident for over 25 years, and has been on the town council for six years. 

These two candidates are from two opposing sides, but have a lot more in common than one might think. 

They even often vote the same way and fight for the same causes. 

Infrastructure projects, such as the Five Year Paving Plan and rebuilding sidewalks were a big part of both of their terms on the town council. 

When asked about his biggest accomplishments, Higgins said, “I was an intrical part of the negotiations team for major town infrastructure projects and shared services. all of which lead to saving taxpayers money.”

Noone said her biggest accomplishment is the main reason she ran for town council in the first place, which was decreasing the amount of abandoned buildings in the town. 

“As the Chair of the Code Book Committee, I worked to pass the Abandoned Properties Ordinance, which has decreased the number of abandoned properties in the Borough from 200 to two and improved the maintenance of properties that are still vacant,” she said.

Noones said she also plans on continuing support for local businesses throughout tough times because of COVID-19.

¨We must continue to support our local business and help them get through these crazy times,” said Noone. 

Higgins said he, too, has concerns about the effects of COVID-19 on businesses downtown.

 ¨I look forward to having open discussions with members of the community to find solutions to bring the Borough to its fullest potential,” he said.

Higgins also said he plans to, “continue fiscal responsibility and well-being of the town through good fiscal practices.”

When asked why he is more fit for the mayoral  position, Higgins said, “My time on the council gives me a unique historical perspective of what has worked, what hasn’t worked, and what will work.”

Higgins said he draws on his experience in the Marine Corps for his leadership capabilities and believes his views strongly reflect those of the town.

“We are a small, tight-knit community and have small town values,” he said.  “I believe my goals for the Borough align with the majority of the community.” 

Noone was a former school administrator and for 13 years was a principal and director of curriculum at Morris School District. 

“I have the job experience to be a very effective mayor,” said Noone. “In those positions, I regularly interviewed, hired, supervised, managed and evaluated staff members and I allocated and monitored annual budget expenditures, so I’m very familiar with budgeting.”

Noone, being a Democratic female candidate in a relatively conservatie area, said she still faces some challenges of a polarized election. 

“Gender does not seem to be an issue, but being a Democrat in Warren County certainly isn’t an asset,” she said. “If I was a Republican. I would be elected because of people’s tendency to vote on party lines and that there are many more Republicans in Washington Borough, so I have to work much harder.”

Political differences aside, Noone said she believes Higgins is a good mayor and that they get along well with each other. 

“If you want people to agree to the things that you’re passionate about, you have to build coalitions and you have to be able to make convincing arguments in order to achieve passage of the things that you care about,” she said.

Higgins agreed, and  said there is no comparison between this election and the national one.

“We are civil and work together across party lines for the betterment of the Borough, “ he said. “Washington D.C. needs to take a page from Washington Borough’s book of civility.”