In a prepared statement, Madison Borough Councilmember Rachel Ehrlich of Kings Road describes why she is running for re-election, her first term accomplishments, and her vision for the borough’s future. Ehrlich’s running mate is Madison Library Trustee and Board of Health member Tom Haralampoudis of Pomeroy Road.
Ms. Ehrlich stated “When my family moved here in 2015, we chose Madison for its vibrant and walkable downtown and excellent school system. We were thrilled to move to a lively neighborhood with sidewalks, a bike lane, and welcoming neighbors. Seven years later, we love that Madison, the ‘#1 Best Town in New Jersey,’ is a strong community in which to raise our son, connect with neighbors, and enjoy an active community life built around the importance of place and a spirit of volunteerism.”
In November 2019, Rachel Ehrlich was elected to the Madison Borough Council. In her first year in office, she served as Council Liaison for Utilities. In that role, she worked with Chief Financial Officer Jim Burnet to encourage long-term thinking about Madison’s electric and water utilities, both in planning for a decarbonized future and reinvesting financially in the community.
With the arrival of the COVID-19 in March 2020, the Borough Council was faced with an immediate need to help members of the community who were being adversely impacted by the pandemic.
“Together, the Council quickly and unanimously enacted the Mayor’s COVID-19 Relief Toolkit,” Ms. Ehrlich recalled. “The Toolkit included an electric bill credit of up to $200 for Madison residents who were furloughed or laid-off and a credit of up to $400 for businesses in town that were required to close or otherwise suffered financial hardship due to the pandemic.”
The council member continued: “That same year, we also set aside $200,000 for a utility-scale renewable energy initiative for our electric utility, demonstrating that Madison could provide direct relief in times of economic stress while establishing a long-term vision for a safe and healthy community through a fossil fuel free future.
These initiatives were made possible by the public ownership of our electric utility, which provides superior service at competitive rates and returns revenue which pays for the borough’s investments in infrastructure as well as equipment for public safety and public works.”
“As a member of the 2021 Ad Hoc Committee on Affordable Housing, I advocated for high quality, contextual, and energy-efficient design for our municipally sponsored affordable housing development on Walnut Street and Community Place,” she stated.
“Currently I serve as Council Liaison for Engineering and Public Works. Throughout 2021, I partnered with green team members from the Madison Environmental Commission and the Sustainable Madison Advisory Committee to create and adopt the Climate Action Resolution for Madison,which acknowledges the threat of climate change and aligns the borough with the New Jersey state Energy Master Plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“Looking forward, my running mate Tom Haralampoudis and I believe that we must continue to work locally to protect our environment and systemically reduce Madison’s greenhouse gas emissions.”
Prior to serving on Council, Rachel Ehrlich was a member of the Madison Planning Board and the Master Plan subcommittee, where she worked to identify actions that the borough could take to preserve the consistency and architectural appeal of the town’s residential neighborhoods, encourage the principles of smart development in line with the town’s Master Plan, and cultivate a vibrant downtown that offers the activities and charm that draws so many families to the community. Ms. Ehrlich was appointed to the Master Plan Steering Committee after taking office, and Madison’s new, forward-looking Master Plan was adopted in 2020.
Professionally, she is a licensed architect with 18 years of experience. She is an Associate Principal and Studio Director at Dattner Architects, a mid-sized architecture firm in New York. Her specialty is the design and construction of high-performance, energy-efficient, affordable housing in New York City.
Ms. Ehrlich is just one of only two council candidates in New Jersey to have been endorsed by the Sierra Club. In their endorsement, the club acknowledged her commitment to fighting climate change and protecting our environment. In addition, together with running mate Tom Haralampoudis, she has also been endorsed by the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters (NJLCV). Their joint campaign is one of just nine campaigns (or individual candidates) in Morris County to receive an NJLCV endorsement.
“Tom and I agree that we must also continue to adopt sound municipal budgets that reflect our values, with capital and operating budgets that deliver the infrastructure investments and high level of services that Madisonians expect and enjoy,” she said. “Investment in our downtown, the heart of Madison community, must continue with enhancements to public access and wayfinding. With prudent planning, we can continue to invest wisely in the aspects of civic life that make Madison a safe and highly desirable place to live and work.”
For more information on the Democratic candidates for Madison Borough Council and non-partisan voter information, please visit www.madisonnjdems.com or drop by the MDC booth in front of Chase Bank on Bottle Hill Day. For more information on the Democratic candidates for Morris County Commission, please visit www.morris2022.com.