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Matthew Hersh

Matthew Hersh is a 12-year resident of Highland Park's South Side, along with his partner, Christine, and their three children, Rubin (11), Ilana (9), and Philip (5). All currently attend or will attend Highland Park Public Schools, and Matthew routinely refers to himself as a member of the "Parent Class of 2033," the year his youngest graduates high school. He is an executive board member of the Bartle Elementary School PTO and a board member of the Highland Park Education Foundation.


Professionally, Matthew works daily with the governor, the legislature, and community leaders to address housing affordability and community development issues in New Jersey a policy advocate for affordable housing, housing stability, tenant and homeowner rights, and health communities.


Matthew was previously a long-time journalist and reporter and professional writer, serving as senior editor at Shelterforce Magazine, a publication of the National Housing Institute, which focuses on federal, state, and local affordable housing policy as well as community development and community organizing. 


As a professional writer, he has worked extensively with several local chapters of Habitat for Humanity, New Jersey Clean Communities, the Newark Trust for Education, New Jersey Audubon, the Princeton Area Community Foundation, the Middlesex Regional Chamber of Commerce, and more. 


Matthew previously served on the Highland Park Borough Council, from November 2016 through June 2018, where he chaired the Borough's Health and Human Services Committee. Some of his accomplishments during, before, and after that time include: 


  • Information Equity: In 2009, Matthew was appointed by Mayor Steve Nolan as founding chair of the Highland Park Public Information Committee. The all-volunteer committee works with the administration and staff to oversee the Borough's communications efforts, including social media, HPTV, and the municipal website.

  • Social Equity: As a volunteer in 2015 and 2016, Matthew led the effort to create a Highland Park Municipal ID. Working with the New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice, the New Jersey ACLU, and the Highland Park Human Relations Commmission, Matthew helped to develop a municipal government-issued ID that can be used as identification at local banks when opening a checking account and is accepted by local retailers (except for the sale of tabacco and alcohol). The is accepted by all municipal agencies, including the police. The HPID can also serve as identification for immigrants, seniors, and children over 14. 

  • Inclusive Communities: While on the Council, Matthew again worked with the NJ Alliance for Immigrant Justice and the NJ ACLU, New Labor, and Catholic Charities Diocese of Metuchen to lead the Borough's "sanctuary city" effort that established local immigration enforcement paramenters and established protections and services for the Borough's authorized and unauthorized immigrant population. 

  • Bringing Voices to the Table: As a result of the Borough's sanctuary efforts, the Borough established the Commission on Immigrant and Refugee Affairs to examine issues facing our immigrant community. 

  • Preserving Public Housing: As a member of the Highland Park Housing Authority and later as the housing liaison on the Borough Council, Matthew worked with the HPHA and its administrative team to successfully enroll in a HUD program that allowed HPHA to secure outside funding from a mission-based community development financial institution for necessary capital improvements on the Samual Kronman building and in Park Terrace.

  • Promoting Racial Equity and Addressing Bias: Matthew is a founding member of the Highland Park Equity Commission, established in response to use of force data that showed black persons at a significantly higher risk of police use-of-force tactics used against them. 


Matthew serves on the following municipal boards/commissions: 


  • Highland Park Affordable Housing Corp.

  • Highland Park Equity Committee

  • Highland Park Human Relations Commission


He serves on the following schools-related boards/task forces:


  • Highland Park Educational Foundation

  • Bartle Elementary School PTO

  • Highland Park Input Task Force for School Reentry


Matthew has also been active in he Democratic Party, serving on the Highland Park Democratic Committee from 2013 to 2016, and again from 2018 to present. He is a member of the Middlesex County Democratic Organization's communications sub-committee. 


Finally, Matthew loves his family, the Mets, our downtown, live music, heavy metal, karaoke, Earl Grey tea, and the Highland Park community. 

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