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MEET MICHELLE

 

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Prior to entering public service, my career was spent as an entrepreneur.  I have built multiple small businesses, several of which I started overseas, including national festivals involving hundreds of vendors and which required collaborating across government and private sectors, new product launches in Mexico, and a retail store in Florida. I’ve raised six figure sponsorships, negotiated infrastructure contracts, and built extensive promotional campaigns.   Not only have these businesses given me profit and loss responsibility for multi-million dollar budgets, and honed my negotiating and management skills, they have made me more collaborative and creative. I am no stranger to finding solutions that bring together multiple stakeholders and finding common ground between competing agendas.  Being an experienced entrepreneur, my skill set was immediately impactful on Council.  

 

Some of the highlights of my Council work, where in collaboration with my colleagues we were able to:

 

  • Spearhead  the creation of an economic revitalization program

  • Reimagine and redesign outdoor dining space in our CBD, during Covid and post Covid. 

  • Encourage a redevelopment zone study for our shopping center area

  • Negotiate with developers to build new residential developments which meet our smart growth goals. 

  • Redesign and expand our free public transport system 

  • Work on the implementation of a new permit parking system  

  • Remove barriers to entry for businesses through revised zoning including eliminating parking space requirements for change of use and opening new zoning for allowable uses.    

  • Streamlining our budget, including the recent decision to outsource our fleet management.

  • Create the Small Business Resiliency Fund, together with the University and the Chamber of Commerce Foundation, giving out over 84 grants to Princeton businesses. 

  • Secure a two-year, $8.5 million extension of the voluntary payment with Princeton University, 

  • Negotiate several Redevelopment agreements to add mixed Income affordable

  • Establishing the Accessory Dwelling Unit Ordinance, to add to our “missing middle” housing stock 

 

 

On a personal note, I am a second-generation Italian American, with Princeton and Central Jersey roots that go back over 100 years. My family emigrated from Pettoranello, Italy, and were the stone masons and gardeners who built Princeton University.  I attended Montgomery schools, and have extended family throughout Central Jersey. Being the daughter of immigrants, it is tantamount to me to do all I can to find ways to help those less fortunate, to have the same opportunities that my parents and grandparents sacrificed for.     I am motivated by a desire to preserve economic diversity in our region, and I am a staunch Democrat with a deep value system based on my desire for fairness and social equity.   Being a pragmatist, I believe that it boils down to economics…investment in our communities means creating opportunities and the ability to preserve our socio-economic diversity.  

 

I have lived in Pennsylvania, France, Washington DC, California, Mexico City, Florida, and Kuwait.  I believe my global perspective informs my viewpoint of what our towns and region can be.   Having worked in Congressional politics (on Capitol Hill for Cong, John Murtha and in California, for Cong. Jim Bates), I am no stranger to the “big leagues” of politics and have seen close up the importance of collaboration and negotiation.    

 

My family is an integral part of my decision to serve, which I believe is critical to any successful career in public service.  My husband of 26 years, George, is an entrepreneur in solar energy technology, and we have three sons, Costas, an Economics major and recent graduate of Boston University, Elias, a Computer Science major and sophomore at Mercer County Community College and Andreas, a Senior and football player, at Princeton High School.   

 

 

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