Many politicians spend their time in front of the cameras, always looking for a position, hoping to be seen.
There is nothing wrong with that in itself – it is part of human nature to crave attention.
But for politics to work well, you need people who like to do what they’re doing just because they like to do it.
One such political figure was Mary Pierson, who recently went down to a few weeks under 100.
Time passes and new faces are appearing in the political fray. Some are not at all in tune with the story.
But talk to Morris County Republicans with a few years under their belt and they’ll tell you about Mary Pierson.
She has lived all her life in Netcong, a pretty little town in the western part of the county.
But during a career that began in the 1950s, she established herself as your quintessential “animator and agitator”, first in the borough and later throughout the county.
It was harder then than today. In many ways, women were not welcome in politics early in Pierson’s career, but she persevered. And then some.
She became chairman of the Republican Netcong Committee and held the position for over 50 years.
Pierson died in late 2019, but the soon to be pandemic has delayed any memorials until this month.
And so on July 8, a “celebration of life” took place for Pierson. The evening began with a reception at the local VFW and continued with presentations at the board meeting.
It was Mayor Joe Nametko who pointed out that when he first considered running for mayor, he was told to go see “Mary”.
The point was clear; without his support, Nametko’s career was going nowhere.
Many Republicans have told similar stories.
State Senator Anthony Bucco and LD-25 MP Aura Dunn were on hand.
So is former MP Richard Kamin, who once employed Pierson in his legislative office.
Former Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen, who rarely appears at a public event these days, visited this one.
There were a lot of official honors for Pierson.
Resolutions of gratitude to Pierson were passed by the state legislature and Morris County commissioners. The street in Netcong where she was born, Allen Street, was renamed Mary Pierson Way a few years before her death.
It was all very cool.
But in simpler terms, Mary Pierson’s political life has been evoked, not as a quest for power, but as a desire to serve the public.
A life truly worth celebrating.
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