Bernardsville Mayor Kevin Sooy has decided to seek reelection to a second four-year term as a member of the Democratic Party and will serve out the remainder of his current term as a Democrat.
“I understand that, on its face, this decision may surprise some people,” said Sooy. “I want to stress that serving and running as a Democrat is consistent with my goals for our town and the issues I want to continue to pursue.”
“We are thrilled to have Mayor Sooy join the growing Democratic movement in Somerset County,” said Somerset County Democratic Chair Peg Schaffer. “He is a committed public servant, and the Democrats welcome Kevin and everyone like him who wants to make a positive difference in Somerset County.”
Bernardsville Municipal Democratic Committee chair Bob Frawley confirmed that the mayor has officially changed his party affiliation from Republican to Democrat, and appeared at the committee’s candidate screening on Thursday, March 22.
“Mayor Sooy participated in a lengthy, detailed, candid screening process with our members,” said Frawley. “We were all very impressed. We’re happy to have the mayor on the team, and there’s no question in our minds that we share a vision for the future of Bernardsville and a commitment to a substantive, issue-oriented campaign.”
The mayor said, “I am extremely impressed with the way our municipal Democrats have conducted their campaigns, particularly the bipartisan nature, civil tone, and emphasis on proposing workable solutions to problems.”
He added that he is “fully aligned” with the issues Bernardsville Democrats have championed in their last few campaigns, including infrastructure development, recreational facilities, downtown revitalization, open space and walkability, aquifer protection, safe housing in all neighborhoods, and fiscal responsibility.
“Our town issues have no party labels,” Sooy said. “They are hometown challenges that affect us all. I’m looking forward to rolling up my sleeves for another four years and working with like-minded people of all parties and affiliations.”
At the party’s candidate screening, members also endorsed Dr. Jeff Hammond for one of two open seats on the Borough Council. Hammond, a retired trauma surgeon and former founder and chief of the trauma department at Robert Wood Johnson Medical Center, now works in an administrative capacity at Morristown Medical Center. He is an avid bicyclist, active member in the community, and nearly 30-year resident of Bernardsville.