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‘I’m really proud to get to this point’

Chelsea Valcourt takes the oath as Monroe's youngest council president

Courtesy of Mike Hickman Photography
Township Clerk Aileen Chiselko swears in Chelsea Valcourt (second from left) as council president at its reorganization meeting on Jan. 4.

Monroe Township Councilwoman Chelsea Valcourt is heading into her fourth year on the dais.

She may be seasoned on council, but that’s all that can be described that way. At 23, Valcourt is the youngest member of the governing body, and when she won her first term in 2020, she was the first Monroe Republican to do so in more than 30 years.  

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As council reorganized on Jan. 4, Valcourt was elected its president, and again, she is a first: the youngest individual to hold that seat. She served as vice president last year and was sworn in by Township Clerk Aileen Chiselko. Councilman Don Heverly was named vice president.

Courtesy of Mike Hickman Photography
Courtesy of Mike Hickman Photography Council President Chelsea Valcourt with Council Vice President Don Heverly

“I’m really proud to get to this point and grateful (to my fellow council members) for their belief in me,” Valcourt noted. “I’m very excited and hopeful for this next year.”

Valcourt – a Rowan University graduate and a journalist – said her journey on council has not always been easy.

“I originally did not have my sights set on the council,” she recalled.

Valcourt had been a student representative on the Monroe board of education while at Williamstown High School, and when she graduated in 2019, she wanted to continue that service. When the township Republican chair approached her about running for council, Valcourt thought it was a good opportunity to continue serving the community.

But the campaign to get her name out there during COVID proved a challenging learning experience.

“It was certainly difficult,” Valcourt remembered. “There was a lot of social media and more word of mouth than your traditional door-to-door (campaign).”

Valcourt had hope, but not much expectation. When the final votes came in, she came out on top and was sworn in to her first term in January 2021. Her first two years were hard, she admitted, relating that she felt some people wanted to see the young councilwoman fail.

And during those first two years, Valcourt said there were times when she wanted to bow out.

“I felt hopeless and lost,” she said, but what kept her going were the voters who believed in her and voted her into office.

“It was not right (to bow out) knowing those people counted on me when I ran.”

When a new administration under Mayor Greg Wolfe took office in January 2022, Valcourt saw it as a turning point on council.

“This new administration is so eager to improve the township,” she pointed out, adding that residents’ concerns are being answered and things are getting done, including municipal building improvements, a backyard chicken pilot program and an ordinance to provide relief for renters.

“It’s rewarding to make progress,” Valcourt said.

Courtesy of Mike Hickman Photography

As she continues to be a voice on council, Valcourt wants to set an example for other young individuals who want to enter politics.

“Just because you are young, it does not mean you won’t be successful,” she emphasized. “There is so much opportunity for success, from a technology aspect to what is going on in the world.”


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