PHILLIPSBURG, NJ (September 18, 2019)—Phillipsburg Councilman Lee M. Clark, who was appointed by the Phillipsburg Town Council Tuesday night to fill an open seat on the council, has issued the following statement in response to becoming the first African American to serve on the Phillipsburg Town Council:
“It was a great honor to be nominated by the Phillipsburg Democratic Committee and to be selected by the Phillipsburg Town Council to fill the seat vacated by Councilman Josh Davis. Councilman Davis was a dedicated public servant and I am looking forward to working just as hard for the people of Phillipsburg. I am very grateful to all the council members for their vote of confidence in me.
I am also extremely encouraged and optimistic to see the Phillipsburg Democratic Committee and the Republican majority on the Town Council work together to fill this seat in compliance with the laws and regulations governing these circumstances. Phillipsburg cannot move forward or fulfill its potential without bi-partisan cooperation on the complex challenges we are facing. Although our community continues to be torn apart by bitter, partisan divides, we have very recently seen a renewed effort by the mayor and council to work together. The progress that occurs when this happens, compared with how partisanship holds us back, is startling. I will be doing my part to keep us moving forward in this direction.
On that note, one of the reasons that I am hoping to be elected to this seat in November, is to represent and be a voice for our under-represented communities. As the first African American to serve on Phillipsburg’s town council, I feel enormous responsibility to speak out, as one of my first priorities, against the truly evil forces in our community that for the past year, have been attempting to manufacture and enflame racial tensions in our community for political gain. The false and disgraceful allegations made against my running mate, Mayor Steve Ellis, were the result of his political opponents exploiting and using members of our community. I am proud to stand with Mayor Ellis as the truth behind these false allegations are exposed, and to make sure this behavior is no longer tolerated in Phillipsburg.
Clark was one of three nominees to fill the seat presented to the council by the Phillipsburg Democratic Committee. Because Davis was a Democrat, the Phillipsburg Democratic Committee was designated by state law to select the nominees from which the council was required to choose Davis’ replacement. The council voted unanimously to appoint Clark.
Clark is also a candidate for Phillipsburg Town Council in the November elections. Clark and his running mate, JP Stettner, are running to fill two council seats—the one vacated by Davis and the one currently held by Councilman Mark Lutz. Clark’s appointment to Davis’ unexpired term has no bearing on the election. Clark will need to be elected in November to remain on the council past the expiration of Davis’ term. Clark and Stettner are running on the Democratic ticket with Mayor Steve Ellis, who is seeking re-election.
Lee M. Clark is the watershed outreach manager for the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters and Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania. In 2019, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy appointed Lee to serve a five-year term on the Phillipsburg Housing Authority as the state’s representative commissioner.
Prior to his work with the Delaware River Watershed, Lee worked as the Field Director for New Jersey League of Conservation Voters Education Fund’s Green in ’17 campaign, an initiative to raise awareness around prominent environmental issues including clean energy, clean drinking water, open space preservation, and environmental justice. Lee has experience working on a number of national, state, and local campaigns including Rep. Tom Malinowski’s 2018 congressional campaign, Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign in Pennsylvania, Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman’s 2014 congressional campaign, and Sen. Cory Booker’s 2013 senatorial campaign.
Lee M. Clark received his bachelor’s degree in Political Science and master’s degree in Business Communication from Rider University. In 2018, Lee re-founded the Warren County Young Democrats and serves as President.