The Township of Berkeley Heights was formally incorporated in 1899, although originally it was called New Providence Township. The town received its own name in 1952. Until 2007 the Township operated under a Committee system, with 5 Committee members choosing a Mayor from among their ranks. Beginning in 2007 the Township reverted to a Mayor-Council-Administrator (MCA) system, with 6 Council members and the Mayor elected separately.
The first Democrat elected to office in Berkeley Heights was Pat Loftus in 1933. Nothing else is known about him at this time.
Democrats have been regularly elected to office in Berkeley Heights since 1969. In 1972, 1974, 1986-1988 and 1990, voters entrusted Democrats to lead our community as the majority on the Township Committee. In addition, John Roholl was elected as Tax Assessor in 1964 when that office was an elected position.
While Berkeley Heights has traditionally voted Republican in national, state and local elections, Democrats served the people of Berkeley Heights with ability and distinction when given the honor of serving the community. They include:
Rod Anderson and John LaMacchia: Anderson, an attorney, and LaMacchia, a physicist at Berkeley Heights’ native Bell Laboratories were elected to the Township Committee in 1969.
Anderson became the first Democrat to serve as Mayor in 1972, and won reelection in November of that year despite Richard Nixon’s landslide victory in the Township. He is now retired and lives in Princeton, New Jersey.
LaMacchia, who did not seek reelection after his job was reassigned, went on to a distinguished career in business, including serving on the Board of Directors of Kroger Foods. Both have fond memories of serving the people of Berkeley Heights as Committeemen.
Betty Wilson: Elected in 1971, Wilson was the first woman to be elected to the Township Committee. In 1973 she became the first woman elected to the State Assembly from our legislative district (now the 21st District). She went on to serve in the Brendan Byrne administration and as Chair of the Pinelands Commission, retiring in 2008 from the latter position.
Other Democrats to serve on the Committee during this period were Donald Rudy and Thomas Governale.
Theodore “Ted” Romankow: Elected in 1984 even as Ronald Reagan swept the country, Romankow was chosen to serve as Mayor of Berkeley Heights in 1986 and 1987. He was appointed Union County Prosecutor in 2002, serving with distinction until his retirement in 2013.
Jeffrey Maccarelli: Elected with Albert Boyance in 1985 despite a landslide victory for Governor Tom Kean, Sr. at the top of the ticket, Maccarelli served from 1985-1988, and as Mayor in 1987 and 1988. He also was elected as a Union County Freeholder, serving until 1990. He was the Berkeley Heights Democratic Chairman for many years.
Lillian Weisgerber: Like many residents, Weisgerber was a longtime resident who’d had enough of the Republican “good ‘ol boys” who ran Berkeley Heights. Elected with Daniel Seib in 1987, she served as Deputy Mayor in 1990. She remains active in Berkeley Heights to this day, including serving on the commission that proposed our current form of government in 2005.
Daniel Seib: The last Democrat to serve as Mayor (in 1990), Seib articulated a plan to transform Berkeley Heights’ downtown into a cohesive, attractive area for families and businesses alike. This plan was scuttled by Republicans after they recaptured control of the Committee later that year.
Thomas Battaglia: Battaglia, a longtime Berkeley Heights Democratic Chairman, was first elected to the Democratic Committee in 1971. He was elected to the Township Committee in 1993 and 1997 with bi-partisan support. He was elected to the newly created Township Council in 2006, and served as Council President in 2008.
In recent years, the Democratic Party has fielded candidates for Township Council/Committee in 12 of the last 13 elections. In addition, our Democratic Party Committee has expanded from 8 elected members in 2007 to 16 as of 2016. The number of registered Democrats has increased from roughly 1,300 to over 2,000 since 2005.
We look forward to earning your support in the years to come!