Jamaican, Elsie Foster, Becomes Mayor of New Jersey City

Elsie Foster, who was born in Deeside, Trelawny, Jamaica, has been elected the new mayor of Highland Park, Middlesex County, New Jersey, a city located on in the Raritan Valley region of the state on the northern banks of the Raritan River. According to the United States 2020 Census, the population of the borough was 15,072.

Foster, who has been president of the Borough Council for some eight years, had been Acting Mayor since the beginning of 2023. She was elected to fulfill the role of Mayor at a special meeting of the Council on January 24, 2023, to replace the former mayor, Gayle Brill Mittler, who resigned from the position on December 31, 2022. Mittler had been mayor since 2014 but decided to resign with one year left in her term so she could spend more time with her three grandchildren and other family members.

Foster was one of three candidates nominated by the Highland Park Democratic Committee to fill the remaining portion of the former mayor’s term and will serve until the end of 2023.

Commenting on her election, Mayor Foster said she was honored by the confidence in her shown by her colleagues in electing her. Among her priority issues as safety, affordability, and development of the city’s downtown area. Foster said she was looking forward to working with the Council members and city residents to improve the affordability, sense of community, and opportunities available in Highland Park. Before being elected mayor, her experience included working on all of the Council’s committees.

In addition to her new role as mayor, Foster is the president and CEO of Aunt Elsie’s Homestays, a global student housing organization. She also works as the legislative liaison to the New Jersey State Civil Service Commission and is a founding partner of JamPhil Consultants, LLC.

The city of Highland Park is governed by the borough form of government. This is the most common form of government in the state and comprises a major and a Borough Council. All positions are elected at large according to party in the general election. The mayor is elected by voters to a term of four years, while the six Council members are elected to staggered, three-year terms. The mayor may veto ordinances, but can be overridden by a two-thirds majority of the council.