BY JAIMIE JULIA WINTERS
Montclair’s 2020 municipal election season is well underway after Third Ward Councilman Sean Spiller and Fourth Ward Councilwoman Renee Baskerville announced plans to run for mayor Monday, Feb. 10.
The two made the announcement at an Essex County Democratic Party committee meeting held that night, according to sources who attended.
Earlier in the day Monday, local news outlet Baristanet reported that Mayor Robert Jackson said he “could not refute rumors” that he was not running for a third term. Numerous calls and emails to Jackson by Montclair Local were not answered.
The mayoralty and six township council positions will be up for election Tuesday, May 12.
Baskerville, who has served as the council’s Fourth Ward representative since 2008, released a statement promising to “continue my life’s work of bringing people together and working toward a thriving, sustainable, resilient and just township” as mayor.
“As Montclair’s Fourth Ward Town Councilor I focused with myopic precision and determination on the issues identified by my constituents as their priorities in our monthly ComeUnity meetings, and the impact of those priorities on every Montclairite and visitor to our township,” Baskerville stated.
The other six councilmembers — Jackson, Spiller, First Ward Councilman William Hurlock, Second Ward Councilwoman Robin Schlager, and At-Large Councilmembers Bob Russo and Rich McMahon — have all served in their current capacity since May 2012. All seven won re-election, mostly unopposed, in 2016.
In a statement sent to Montclair Local announcing his intentions to run for mayor, Spiller said he believes that progress begins on the local level and that “Montclair serves as an example of what government can do when we follow through on our progressive values.
“Preserving the Montclair ideal is a collective effort,” Spiller stated. “During my term on the council, we’ve worked to protect and enhance the things that make Montclair so special. We’ve made critical investments in infrastructure and parks, stood up for our progressive values, all while significantly reducing our municipal debt.” he said.
But he said, “there’s still much to be done.”
Spiller is Vice President of the New Jersey Education Association, the state teachers’ union, in addition to his role on the council.
Baskerville is a pediatric, adolescent primary-care and school physician, as well as a health educator. In addition to her service on the council and municipal boards and commissions, she has also served on the Board of Education.