Essex Rising

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Local Election Endorsements


Essex Rising endorses independent candidates for our Town Council. They have impressive records in finance and management. They all focused on easing our tax burden through smart development and planning. They support the principles of Essex Rising. One of our principles for local government is accountability, meaning these candidates all believe in LISTENING to the community to represent it. Most importantly, these candidates are independent, critical thinkers who will do the Town Councillor’s work of making sure that our local government is working in the interest of all people who live here. We do not need more rubber stampers on our Council. 

MONICA PERKOWSKI’s career experience in management, including public relations and budget oversight, taught her the value of listening, collaborating, and negotiating. Monica grew up in West Orange, the daughter of a Teamster, and her parents still live in their West Orange home. Having witnessed the shortfalls of our current Town Hall, Monica supports term limits and wants a permanent Town Planner to help guide strategic and environmentally sound development, reduce our tax burden, and help people age in place. Monica is actively engaged in several community organizations. 

BILL RUTHERFORD will use his financial experience to ease our tax burden through strategic decision making. He embraces Essex Rising principles, and comes from a long line of activism and community and public service. As pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, he leads “a community-focused ministry that serves thousands of people throughout Essex County,” and supports a woman’s right to choose, LGBQT rights, and the reform of marijuana laws. Raised in the Oranges, Bill and his family have lived in West Orange for 18 years, and forged strong community relationships in the area. 


For the West Orange Board of Education, Essex Rising endorses MELINDA C. HUERTA. Melinda also grew up in West Orange. She went through our West Orange school system as a Latinx student, and now is a mother of young children in our system, so she brings to bear a wealth of experience and the perspectives of an underrepresented demographic that will improve our BOE. She is eager to use her experience to help us improve our school system so that it is more inclusive, representative, and sensitive to discrimination and prejudice, particularly by enabling the voices of minority parents, while promoting fiscally responsible decisions and creative policies for the betterment of our community at large.

Federal Election Endorsements

Essex Rising again endorses MIKIE SHERRILL for U.S. Congress in New Jersey’s 11th Congressional District. She is facing a well-funded Republican challenger this year, and the odious Tucker Carlson has started bashing Mikie from his bully pulpit. Visit her page to see how else you can help her win again. Our allies at NJ11ForChange have many helpful election resources for CD11 (and beyond) on their Facebook page.  

Looking for other ways to take back our government from grifters and special interests?  Seizing control of the Senate is vital.
Support John Hickenlooper to beat Gardner (CO),
Support West Orange’s own Mark Kelly to beat McSally (AZ),
Support Steve Bullock to beat Daines (MT),
Support Cal Cunningham to beat Tillis (NC),
Support Jon Ossoff to beat Perdue (GA),
Support Sara Gideon to beat Collins (ME),
Support Theresa Greenfield to beat Ernst (IA),
Support Amy McGrath to beat Mitch McConnell (KY),
Support Jaime Harrison to beat Lindsay Graham (AL). 

All of these great candidates have links to donate or to get involved by phone banking or writing letters or postcards on their behalf. 

We have an epic battle on our hands to defeat Trump. There is a lot we can do from Essex County to help deliver victory for Joe Biden in swing states and to win key Senate races. Here are some great ways to get involved:

SwingLeft and VoteFwd have teamed up to send handwritten letters to strategically selected target groups; their test results show a high probability of effectively turning out a vote against Trump and winning vital Senate seats. sends “friendly, handwritten reminders from volunteers to targeted voters, giving Democrats a winning edge in close, key races coast to coast.

First Friends NY/NJ Helping Detained Asylum Seekers

“First Friends of NJ and NY upholds the inherent dignity and humanity of detained immigrants and asylum seekers. We promote compassion and hope through volunteer visitation, resettlement assistance and advocacy.”

Find out how to get involved here.

Also, get your tickets for their gala here.