Woodbury filled two vacancies on the city council on Monday, with Jo Miller becoming the first out nonbinary elected official in South Jersey.
The 26-year-old Miller is a former aide to Assemblyman Paul Moriarty (D-Washington Township) and the recruitment chair of the South Jersey Young Democrats.
Miller replaces Ward 1 Councilman Tom Picarsik, while Rob Johnson, a volunteer firefighter and IBEW Local 351 member, is filling the seat of Ward 3 Councilman Reed Merinuk. Merinuk is the deputy Gloucester County public safety director and a former Woodbury police chief; he was re-elected last year.
The two new councilmembers were sworn in by State Sen. Nilsa Cruz-Perez (D-Barrington).
“Representation matters, so having Jo represent a group of people who may not feel like they have a voice will hopefully encourage further engagement down the line,” the senator stated.
Last year, Miller left law school to join a national fight against anti-LGBTQ+ legislation.
“In a time where some states are making such radical anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, I was honored to have been nominated and appointed,” said Miller. “New Jersey is on the right track in protecting and representing communities that face attacks elsewhere, but the only way to guarantee that we continue being on the right side of history is by voting and staying involved.”
Democrats hold every seat on the Woodbury City Council. The two ward seats will be on the ballot in the fall, along incumbents Donna Miller (Ward 1) and Fran Harwell (Ward 2) and newcomer Sam Ferraino in Ward 3.
Picarsik and Merunik resigned on April 3. Since their departures came after the March 29 filing deadline, there will be no primary elections to nominate candidates. Instead, county committee members from both parties will select the general election candidates.