Former Summit Councilwoman Kelly Hatfield has a pretty long resume.
She has a PhD in Microbiology, served on the Summit Common Council for nine years – part of which she served as president, has worked as a research scientist, taught at NYU Dental School, worked on Doug Forrester’s 2005 gubernatorial campaign and raised money for Tom Kean, Jr.’s 2006 Senate run. Currently, she’s a state co-chair for Women for Rudy, but she’s thinking of adding another title: Congresswoman from the seventh district.
“I’m seriously considering running. I’ve been calling around and talking to our leadership in the county and outside of the county, and various municipal chairs and elected officials,” said Hatfield.
Hatfield, 54, is a less well-known candidate than outgoing Senate Minority Leader Leonard Lance, but thinks that her experience on Summit’s council, which she left two years ago, has more than adequately prepared her for Congress.
“I think Leonard Lance has my full respect as an outstanding public servant, but I think I can be a better candidate.”
Hatfield described herself as a fiscal conservative, which she said her record as a Summit Councilwoman bears out, and a social moderate who said she’s “not pro-abortion” but believes in less government interference in personal matters.
Hatfield, however, was not ready to commit to a position on the hot button social issue of civil unions or gay marriage. And when asked about her stance on government funding of embryonic stem cell research, she stressed recent scientific developments that could someday eliminate the need to use embryonic cells, allowing scientists to use adult skin cells instead.
“It’s so funny, because I’ve been saying that for a few years to all of the candidates: don’t worry about stem cells. There will be a day when they’re going to take skin cells and generate like-cells that will match that you can use to grow cardiac tissue,” said Hatfield.
Hatfield might have a tough time standing out in a crowded Republican field, but she stressed her fundraising experience as one of her strengths.
“I am well-versed in the field of fundraising,” said Hatfield. “That’s definitely a strength I bring to this not only locally but the district and statewide… You can’t do this with your eyes closed.”