jessica

simpson-cook

bernards township committee

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Meet Jessica

My husband and I chose to purchase our Bernards Township home in 2019. I am a legal and procurement professional for an International Consumer Goods company and have built my career working at Fortune 500 companies headquartered in New Jersey.


I earned my Business Degree from Temple University in 2004, attended Widener University Law School, and earned my Executive MBA from Rutgers University in 2017. I am currently a member of the Junior League of the Oranges and Short Hills, committed to develop and empower women civic leaders to address the needs of children by tackling food insecurity and improving access to essential items and resources to improve the health and wellness of school-aged children in need.

I am honored and eager to embark on this journey again as a candidate for the Bernards Township Committee. I am dedicated to working on new efforts that continue to make our town a lively, vibrant community, attractive to residents, visitors, restaurants and other businesses. 

On the issues

On the Issues

As a relative newcomer to Bernards Township, I have the benefit of seeing our town with fresh eyes. I have recently experienced what other towns like ours have done to bring their communities together in ways that encourage shopping, dining and attending family-oriented events just a few minutes away versus 20 minutes away.

My experience as a legal and procurement professional has taught me “where there’s a will, there’s a way.” Our local government can, with the right leadership, deliver faster and more effective results for all residents. 

Our Township Committee has a history of responsiveness that often feels more like a “pat on the head” instead of real action, unless it explicitly aligns with the Committee’s agenda. In some instances, the Committee is reactive versus proactive, leading to unnecessary expense and less than ideal outcomes. In addition, single party rule eliminates true diversity of thought to the detriment of the community. 

The Township Committee can – and should – drive the resolution of key concerns. With your vote, I am committed to addressing the following issues:

  • Bring back the second public comment at all Township Committee meetings. The opportunity for residents to voice concerns both in person and remotely by email should be restored.  In January 2022, the Township Committee eliminated the second public comment session, saying they felt it would make meetings more “efficient.” In fact, the TC meetings are no more efficient, and reduce the opportunity for residents to be heard. The Bernardsville News agrees: "Let The Public Speak in Bernards Township", "No Good Reason to Limit Public Comments"
  • Manage overgrown trees and limbs in advance of storms to minimize downed wires and power outages. The Committee can do a better job advocating for a faster response both from our public works department and JCP&L.
  • Expedite the repair of potholes and other winter damage on roads and sidewalks.
  • Evaluate building more sidewalks in key locations to make it safer and more accessible for pedestrians, including our younger residents who are not yet able to drive.
  • Launch a farmers market in town during the summer months. I will work with the NJ Secretary of Agriculture, creating a no-cost event for the town and a big win for residents who want more local events. Programs like this increase foot traffic, which helps local businesses and encourages community engagement. 
  • Expand recreational events during the summer months: Food trucks in the park or elsewhere once a month, more frequent outdoor movie nights, a restaurant week, and a “Shop Small Business” week.  
  • Expand sports and recreational programming for children with special needs
  • Implement an accessibility plan for all town events: At the last Charter Day, there was no plan in place to help people with physical challenges easily access the event.

I am committed to working with all residents and the Township Committee to truly listen, take action and resolve the issues that concern you. I commit to holding a regular forum via livestream on social media where residents can ask questions and voice concerns in real time, outside of the in-person meetings. I look forward to meeting you during our campaign, and I am very grateful for your support.

ACCESSIBILITY. ACCOUNTABILITY. action.

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