INTERVIEW of Rumson Mayor Joseph K. Hemphill
Thanks to incredible work from our community report Jack Kraman, please see below for an interview with Rumson Mayor Joseph K. Hemphill
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Rumson, NJ - Rumson is a unique town with a character unlike any other along the Jersey shore. Although founded in 1907, Rumson was known as Rumson as early as 1663. I wanted to find out more about the person who is our current mayor, Joseph Hemphill, and what makes Rumson, Rumson. So, I decided to ask the mayor some questions about himself and the town. The fascinating answers I received are below. - Kraman
Q: HAVE YOU ALWAYS LIVED IN RUMSON AND DID YOU ATTEND RUMSON SCHOOLS?
Mayor Hemphill: Yes, I was born at Jersey Shore Medical Center and have lived here all my life. I graduated from Holy Cross School, The Hun School in Princeton and Parsons College in Iowa. My wife, the former Robin Fowler, graduated from Forrestdale (Deane-Porter was not built yet) and RFH, Class of ‘69. Our children, Jonathan (Class of ‘95) and Carrie (Class of ‘01) both attended Deane-Porter, Forrestdale and graduated from RFH.
Q: WHAT IS YOUR PROUDEST ACCOMPLISHMENT AS MAYOR OF RUMSON?
My proudest accomplishment is, as a council member, and as chairman of the Council Building Committee, I spearheaded and planned the construction of the new Rumson Borough Hall. As you can see in old photos, the original borough hall was an older home that did not have sufficient access for special needs, efficient heat / AC or up to date electric. We needed to build a new complete borough campus that would lead us through the 21st century. With my background as a builder/contractor for over 40 years, I had the experience and knowledge to make decisions that were fiscally correct and yet included top of the line materials, systems and design. It was my pleasure to volunteer for this position.
As mayor, I take great pride in keeping Rumson a triple A rated municipality by Moody’s Financial. The mayors before me did a great job to run this small town with good common sense with a council made up of good decision makers. I strive to continue this legacy.
Q: WHAT IS THE MOST CHALLENGING THING ABUT BEING MAYOR OF RUMSON?
The most challenging thing is trying to keep Rumson…Rumson. With our world changing at record speed, it is tough to keep “small town life” from getting too complicated. Rumson has a reputation of allowing its residents the freedom to pursue their own happiness, but in many cases, state and federal laws make it harder and harder to do that.
Q: IS THERE A PARTICULAR FEATURE OF RUMSON THAT MAKES IT STAND OUT?
Rumson’s location makes it particularly unique, between two rivers and the Atlantic Ocean. Each major street that runs south and north, ends on a river! Although our town has grown in different ways, the population has stayed somewhat constant at 7,000. We have fantastic restaurants, parks, delis, dry cleaners, a drug store, busy commercial districts and everything someone needs for daily life, without ever going on a highway.
Q: AN INTERESTING FACT THAT MANY PEOPLE DON’T KNOW ABOUT RUMSON IS:
If you google the word Rumson, there is NO other town in the whole world with our name!
(Hint: It’s because settlers bought the land from the Native Americans. The Native Americans called the land Navarumsunk.)
Hi, I'm Jack Kraman. I hope you enjoyed my article about Mayor Hemphill. I'm 11 years old and I am very passionate about writing. I am in the 5th grade at Forrestdale middle school. I recently took a writing class through Rumson Recreation and continue to enroll in writing classes when I can. Being an author is a dream job for me.