Download the 2021 Insider 100: Policymakers publication here or view it below:
In honor of policy-grounded activists, we’d like to dedicate this year’s InsiderNJ Policymaker’s List to the late Abigail “Abbie” Fair of Chatham Township, who worked during her life to preserve the mighty natural resources of North Jersey.
As co-founder off the Great Swamp Watershed Association and as a longtime member of the local township committee, Ms. Fair carried on the work of Helen Fenske, who saved the Great Swamp – the origin of the Passaic and Raritan rivers – from development.
An advocate on water-related issues for the Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions (ANJEC) for more than two decades. Ms. Fair died on May 17 at the age of 81 in Massachusetts.
I wrote this is 2005:
Appointed to the Township Planning Board in 1977, Ms. Fair retired from the Township Committee at the end of 2004, having served five, three-year terms in elected office. She spent her public career identifying and seeking to preserve the connection between residents and natural resources, seeing quality of life… as fundamentally tied to the Great Swamp Watershed. Whether it was a proposed four-lane highway on Shunpike Road, the original Sterling Properties project of more than 125 units at Shunpike and Green Village Road, or residential housing units in Green Village, from her earliest days on the Planning Board, Ms. Fair confronted development projects that would have substantially changed the character of the township and the region.
Friendly with the press, eager to educate, and always substantive, Pennsylvania native Abigail Fair left behind the legacy of a policymaker so strong in her chosen area – so intellectually unbeatable – that she continually won reelection against the odds.