FAIR LAWN, NJ — Local council candidates have announced and while they do not have a primary contest in June, the four will face off in a fall election for two open council seats beginning in 2022.
Gail Rottenstrich and Josh Reinitz, incumbent democrats who were elected in 2017, will face republicans Glen Callons and Cindy Montano.
Two 4-year terms are open on the five-member council at the end of 2021. The primary is on June 8, but with no one challenging the candidates in their own party, they will likely be on the November 2 ballot.
The incumbent democrat candidates "have been key to the town’s efforts to reinvigorate the local business community and provide robust constituent services to residents while managing the town with ongoing fiscal responsibility," according to a March 30 press release from the Democratic County Committee.
“Earlier this month the council passed its fourth consecutive budget without a tax increase,” Reinitz said. “I am especially proud of this budget as we have been able to hold the line on taxes while expanding the services offered to our residents, despite the realities of the pandemic.
“This budget highlights the priorities of this council, namely fiscal responsibility, improving access for our vulnerable populations, and recognizing the role and importance of our first responders,” he said.
“Pedestrian safety initiatives, innovative programs to boost and support our local businesses, and better protection of our local environment — all of our work is about providing services that give back and strengthen Fair Lawn,” Rottenstrich said.
Reinitz and Rottenstrich said the council has been able to "expand and improve" recreational opportunities throughout town and have gotten Bergen County to prioritize projects like much-needed paving on county roads and upgrading traffic signals at the Fair Lawn Avenue/Saddle River Road intersection.
“It has been one of the great honors of my life to serve this community, and I am dedicated to continuing to work hard, along with Josh, Mayor Kurt Peluso, and our Democratic team to continue making our community healthier and safer for residents,” Rottenstrich said.
Reinitz agreed. “In a year marked by so much uncertainty,” he says, “it’s been my honor to serve the residents of Fair Lawn alongside a mayor and council who have demonstrated steady leadership and dedication to planning for the town’s future without sacrificing services in the present.”
Both candidates highlighted Fair Lawn’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which focused on protecting vulnerable residents, providing frequent town-wide communication, and taking full advantage of all available CARES act funding.
Republican Cindy Hsiu-Hsu Young Montano, who has lived in Fair Lawn with her husband for 10 years, said she wants to give back to the community she has made her home.
"I would like to give back to our community by serving on the town council," Montano said. "I have over 20 years of experience growing and managing businesses ranging from $20 Million to $1 Billion. I would like to use my experience and expertise to help our small businesses prosper, and attract other companies to Fair Lawn to help increase our tax base, and improve the quality of life for our residents."
"Most importantly," she said, "I’m looking forward to working with our small businesses and neighbors as we recover and rebuild from the pandemic."
Republican Glen Callons, who previously ran for council, is a lifelong resident and former Fair Lawn Police Officer for 25 years.
“My family has served Fair Lawn for generations," he said. "I know that my knowledge, training, and experience have given me an unmatched insight on what is required to make sure that our children, homes, and our businesses are the safest they can be.”
"I committed to our residents when I ran for Council in 2019 that I would run a campaign of ideas and solutions," he said, "and I am even more committed to that today."
Over the last year, Montano and Callons noted the town has faced the obvious challenges of the pandemic, social unrest and economic instability, committing them to the theme of "Bringing Fair Lawn Together."
"A as a Taiwanese American and Italian/French American couple, my husband and I were attracted to the diversity of our town when we decided to make it our home," Montano said. "I would like to help shape the future of our borough, by helping to make it even more inclusive and affordable for people of all backgrounds to call Fair Lawn their home."
Callons said the republicans are presenting a diverse running team. "Cindy and I bring a very different set of skills and experiences to the table, and together we are committed to working with you, the residents of Fair Lawn, to end the divisiveness that has arisen over the last year."
"Bringing Fair Lawn together is the mantra we will be using to drive our campaign," Montano said. "Glen and I can't wait to start meeting everyone and most importantly listening to you and sharing our ideas!"