Former Mayor Chamberlain Steps Down After Years of Service; Christine Clarke Voted New Chair

There is a new captain at the helm of the Jefferson Township Democratic Committee. The steering wheel was passed to Christine Clarke during the group’s organizational meeting this week.

Clarke, who was voted chair by an overwhelming majority, succeeds former township mayor Horace Chamberlain, who stepped down from the position after serving as the club’s chair for many years. Active in politics on both local and county levels, he serves on the Democratic county committee.

Former Jefferson Township mayor and Township Democratic Committee chairman Horace Chamberlain, pictured.

Clarke tells The Jefferson Chronicle that she hopes to “restructure operations so that club members can get more involved in hands-on ways working toward our shared goals.” Importantly, she says, a primary goal is supporting the two Democratic candidates – Dan Malloy and Doug Helmstetter – for town council seats in the November election.

“I’d like to improve our communication efforts by using technology to be more inclusive and accessible,” Clarke tells The Chronicle, adding that training and addition of informative events to the club’s calendar are also on her agenda.

Noting that the Democratic party has not had a say in local government for decades, the new chair says she hopes to empower committee members to engage with their districts more and respond to residents’ interests.

“It’s important that all residents have a seat at the table, so to speak. The Democrats have not had a voice on the town council in years. It’s time to fix that,” she notes. “I’d also like to bring candidates for office to club meetings to talk with residents and engage in free, public, town hall style discussions on the issues,” she adds.

Engaged with Community

Recently elected to Morris County’s Democratic Committee, Clarke is no novice in the active community arena. She worked as an advocate for improvements to child protective statutes, becoming seriously engaged in advocacy in the runup to the 2016 elections.

“My focus has been environmental protection, partly due to my children’s interests in ocean life. It’s a cause that has room for them to participate,” she tells The Chronicle. Currently the volunteer environmental director for the statewide grassroots group Action Together New Jersey (ATNJ), she conducts environmental calls-to-action, live stream broadcasts, coordinated efforts with like-minded organizations, and the team’s events calendar.

True to form as an advocate, Clarke took an opportunity during The Chronicle interview to pitch ATNJ’s next big environmental event on July 27 at 6:30 p.m. “It’s a free, public-facing Facebook Live Q&A with Congressman Pallone on environmental policy. Folks can watch along on the Action Together New Jersey Facebook page,” she explains.

Clarke also invites residents to follow the local Democratic Committee’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/JeffersonNJDems. “I’d like to bring similarly engaging content that answers residents’ interests to that page, too. If folks have suggestions on what they’d like to see, message the club’s Facebook page or email us at jeffersonnjdems@gmail.com to let us know,” Clarke notes.

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Maria Weiskott is a Jefferson Township resident and a forty year veteran of the publishing profession. An award-winning journalist and editor, she served in top managerial positions at numerous business-to- business newspapers and magazines including Reed Elsevier and Fairchild Publications. Early in her career she operated a local newspaper in the Passaic Valley towns of Little Falls, Totowa and the former West Paterson. Following retirement, she launched a “ghostblogging” service that provides social networking update and blogging services for small and medium sized businesses. Maria travels widely with her husband and is a passionate photographer. She can be reached at maria.weiskott@thejeffersonchronicle.com.

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