Booker contrasts Dougherty with Trump at mayor’s campaign kickoff in Morristown

Sen. Cory Booker, back row, with Morristown council slate of Michael Elms, Toshiba Foster, David Silva and Mayor Tim Dougherty. Photo by Matt Peyton/Peyton Photography
Sen. Cory Booker, back row, with Morristown council slate of Michael Elms, Toshiba Foster, David Silva and Mayor Tim Dougherty. Photo by Matt Peyton/Peyton Photography
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Video: Cory Booker helps Team Dougherty launch 2017 campaign

By Kevin Coughlin

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) took a break from battling the Trump administration on Monday to plug Morristown Mayor Tim Dougherty for a third term.

Describing Dougherty as a “managerial genius” and one of “the extraordinary mayors in America,” Booker credited the Mayor with helping make Morristown a welcoming, diverse place that differs sharply from the dark picture of the nation painted by President Trump in his inaugural address.

Sen. Cory Booker and Morristown Mayor Tim Dougherty, Jan. 23, 2017. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Sen. Cory Booker and Morristown Mayor Tim Dougherty, Jan. 23, 2017. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

“To me it’s important to be a little political today,” the Senator said. “Because when one man stood on Friday and cast a shadow over this country, there is another man I know in a town that is beautiful and wonderful and bright… another man who stands up not to cast darkness, but a source of light.”

Dougherty got laughs from supporters at the Jockey Hollow Bar & Kitchen when he took his turn at the microphone. “It is so not right for me to have to follow that!” he joked.

The Mayor is running for re-election with incumbent Council members Michael Elms and Toshiba Foster.

David Silva, pastor of the Centro Biblico church, rounds out the ticket. He replaces Councilwoman Michelle Duprée Harris, who will challenge the Mayor in the June primary, leading her own slate of Democratic council candidates.

“I look forward to a vigorous campaign against and his policies,” said Harris, a 19-year council veteran. “I feel confident that after eight years under his rule, the people of Morristown are ready for change.”

No word yet from local Republicans about their plans.

Booker, whose name often is mentioned as a 2020 presidential contender, broke with Senate tradition last week to oppose the cabinet nomination of a colleague, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-ALA), Trump’s choice to serve as Attorney General. Booker was critical of Sessions’ Civil Rights record during a confirmation hearing.

Supporters at kickoff of Mayor Tim Dougherty's third campaign, at the Jockey Hollow Bar & Kitchen, Jan. 23, 2017. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Supporters at kickoff of Mayor Tim Dougherty’s third campaign, at the Jockey Hollow Bar & Kitchen, Jan. 23, 2017. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

At Monday’s campaign kickoff, Booker borrowed a page from Martin Luther King, likening Morristown to King’s ideal of the “beloved community.” 

Mayors have the toughest job in government, added the former Newark mayor, who lauded Dougherty for fielding pothole complaints and holding down taxes and crime, while “reminding us that the ties that bind us are so much stronger than the lines that divide us.”

Dougherty,  a former councilman and zoning board member, works as chief engineer for the Prudential Center in Newark.  He thanked his wife, Mary Dougherty, for her support throughout the ups and downs of political life. They moved to Morristown in 1988, he told the crowd, introducing their grown son, Ryan.

 

Sen. Cory Booker, back row, with Morristown council slate of Michael Elms, Toshiba Foster, David Silva and Mayor Tim Dougherty. Photo by Matt Peyton/Peyton Photography
Sen. Cory Booker, back row, with Morristown council slate of Michael Elms, Toshiba Foster, David Silva and Mayor Tim Dougherty. Photo by Matt Peyton/Peyton Photography

The Mayor said one of his prime goals is keeping taxes stable so “people on fixed incomes, our seniors especially…can stay in their homes.”

Among his achievements he cited “sensible growth” and a landmark 2015 tax settlement with the parent company of Morristown Medical Center, a “forever win” that he predicted will contribute to a flat budget–no tax increase–for the seventh straight year.  At the same time, he intends to add two police officers to the force, for a total of 14 police hires during his tenure, he said.

The Mayor also mentioned street beautification projects, an ongoing traffic study, and an openness to creative ideas that has seen Morristown become a hub for events including cycling’s Gran Fondo NJ, a book festival, and a jazz & blues festival.

Monday’s announcement came in a restaurant that is a testament to the downtown’s creative energy: In 2014, New York restaurateur Chris Cannon transformed a vacant South Street mansion into a showcase that has earned critical acclaim.

But echoing Booker, who cited activist and author Alice Walker (The Color Purple), Dougherty said voters care most about the unglamorous, everyday things:  Snow plowing, trash pickup, the town’s response to Hurricane Sandy.

He looks forward to voters’ feedback.

“I’m more energized in this election than I was in ’09,” said Dougherty, vowing to take his pitch door-to-door “to every resident in this town, probably twice” before the primary.

“There is so much more work to do,” he said.

Slideshow photos by Berit Ollestad and Kevin Coughlin

Sen. Cory Booker and Morristown Mayor Tim Dougherty, Jan. 23, 2017. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Councilman Michael Elms announces his re-election bid, Jan. 23, 2017. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Councilwoman Toshiba Foster announces her-election bid, Jan. 23, 2017. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Pastor David Silva announces his council bid, Jan. 23, 2017. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Supporters at kickoff of Mayor Tim Dougherty's third campaign, at the Jockey Hollow Bar & Kitchen, Jan. 23, 2017. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Sen. Cory Booker addresses supporters of Morristown Mayor Tim Dougherty, Jan. 23, 2017. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Mayor Tim Dougherty with Rector Janet Broderick of St Peter's Episcopal Church, Jan. 23, 2017. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Supporters at kickoff of Mayor Tim Dougherty's third campaign, at the Jockey Hollow Bar & Kitchen, Jan. 23, 2017. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Mayor Tim Dougherty, his wife Mary Dougherty, and Sen. Cory Booker in Morristown, Jan. 23, 2017. Photo by Berit Ollestad
Councilwoman Toshiba Foster, right, and friend, at 2017 campaign kickoff. Photo by Berit Ollestad
Mayor Tim Dougherty and Sen. Cory Booker in Morristown, Jan. 23, 2017. Photo by Berit Ollestad
Morris County Democratic Chairman Chip Robinson and Dougherty campaign manager Daniel Pereira, Jan. 23, 3017. Photo by Berit Ollestad
Team Dougherty 2017 campaign kickoff, Jockey Hollow Bar & Kitchen. Photo by Berit Ollestad
Team Dougherty 2017 campaign kickoff, Jockey Hollow Bar & Kitchen. Photo by Berit Ollestad
Sen. Cory Booker and Mayor Tim Dougherty in Morristown, Jan. 23, 2017. Photo by Berit Ollestad
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Sen. Cory Booker, left, with Mary Dougherty, Mayor Tim Dougherty, and their son, Ryan Dougherty. Photo by Matt Peyton/ Peyton Photography
Sen. Cory Booker, left, with Mary Dougherty, Mayor Tim Dougherty, and their son, Ryan Dougherty. Photo by Matt Peyton/ Peyton Photography
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1 COMMENT

  1. I thank Tim Dougherty, his wife, Mary, and son, Ryan for their sterling service to Morristown. Thanks also to the candidates running for Council, Toshiba, Michael, and David for their dedication to work for the compassionate, affordable development of our community. In the face of the bleak and dispiriting prospects unfolding in Washington vis a vis Trump and his National and International program seeking to dismantle our kinder and gentler nation, it is a real life-saver to listen to civic leaders dedicated to building up rather than tearing down. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you! Fr. Dennis Crowley

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