The Republican-dominated Moorestown Township Council has a new Democrat aboard - Lisa Petriello - who also is new to politics.
Petriello was sworn in at a special meeting Wednesday to replace Greg Newcomer, who had been the lone Democrat on the five-member council since January 2013.
Newcomer resigned Nov. 30 after receiving a kidney transplant. Over the last three decades, he has been involved with various recreation programs and township committees, including the Sustainable Moorestown Advisory Committee, on which Petriello served as secretary.
Petriello took the oath of office on her 25th wedding anniversary, as her husband, Sal, and their son, Luca, 9, stood beside her.
"I'm just really happy to have the opportunity to be of service," Petriello, 51, said Thursday. "I look forward to working with my other council members, and to finding solutions and building bridges and increasing transparency."
Petriello said she is a stay-at-home mom who previously worked as a vice president in technology support at Westminster Bank in New York. She will serve out a term that goes through the end of 2016 and plans to run for a four-year term in November.
She has never run for office before, except that she was elected class president in her high school and a student senator at Rutgers University, where she obtained a bachelor's degree, with a major in economics and minors in political science and philosophy.
Despite never appearing on the local ballot, Petriello is no stranger to her community.
Two years ago, she helped lead a petition drive that garnered 1,200 signatures and led the council to abandon a plan to loosen play-to-pay campaign finance rules. She also is the cochairwoman of the South Valley Elementary Home and School Association, and is active with the YMCA of Burlington and Camden Counties.
Petriello also is a master gardener who works with the Burlington County division of the Rutgers Cooperative Extension, disseminating information about gardening research and working with community gardens in Moorestown.