BY MICHAEL GOLDBERG
Control of the Somerset County freeholder board flipped to Democratic control this year for the first time in more than half a century. This stunning victory owes a lot to the careful dedication and planning of Democratic State Committee Vice Chairwoman Peg Schaffer.
Peg, a longtime leader in Somerset County politics, built the relationships and created the infrastructure that changed conditions on the ground to propel Democratic candidates to victory in one of the most Republican areas of the Garden State.
Peg has been working to achieve victories for Democrats up and down the ballot for years.
When the opportunity to run for the General Assembly in the 16th legislative district in 2005 presented itself, I went for it – even though I knew it would be an uphill battle for a Democrat.
My running mate, Charles Eader and I, ran a credible, if unsuccessful, campaign.
On and off the campaign trail, no one helped us more than Peg, who was serving as chair of the Bedminster Democratic Committee.
Her attention to raising the profiles of Democratic candidates like myself taught me best campaign practices – including how to build long-lasting political relationship and that hard work is never a futile effort.
Though I didn’t win the race, I was elected Democratic municipal chairman in Hillsborough, where I had the pleasure to work with Peg on several matters in Somerset County.
When the time came in 2008 for a new County chair, I knew Peg would be the best person.
And she worked hard for it.
I recall driving through the back roads of Montgomery looking for that last district committee member’s door so she could share her vision of how Somerset County Democrats can and would prevail.
When Peg became Chair, she named me Corresponding Secretary.
Over the last 11 years we have succeeded despite all the obstacles thrown in our way.
Peg has been a rock, steadfastly maintaining her commitment to building a strong and successful Democratic Party despite long odds.
Today, we see the results of that commitment.
By developing a team, supporting strong candidates and forever setting the highest standards of excellence, we now are achieving electoral successes each year on the state, county and local levels.
This type of dedication in Somerset County speaks well to the kind of leader she is for our statewide Democratic Party.
I am asking my fellow State Committee Members to consider this: Leadership is about moving forward even under challenging circumstances. With Peg continuing as our Vice Chair with the experience she brings in bringing success to Somerset County, we will always be in the best position to fight for our Democratic values and the candidates who support them.
Going forward, there is no better team than Peg Schaffer Chairman John Currie as our leaders.
Michael Goldberg is a member of the New Jersey Democratic State Committee from Somerset County.