December 28, 2012 at 7:43 AM
MADISON, NJ - After serving on the Madison Borough Council for three consecutive terms, lifelong resident of Madison Astrie Ballie thought when she stepped down two years ago, her time in politics was over. However, she couldn't stay away and on Jan.1, she will begin her fourth term as a councilwoman in the borough.
Ballie, who has been involved with politics since high school, said her parents played a major role in her love for the community. In addition to raising four children, she served on the environmental commission, the planning board and the zoning board of adjustment for 14 years.
However, after her numerous years of dedication to Madison, she said she was removed from the zoning board in a political move, which angered her. The local Democratic Party reached out to her and asked her to run for Council in 2000.
In 2001, she and Republican Don Bowen were elected to council and during their tenure the two became close and decided to run together in the next election. While they were from different political parties, they were both Madisonians, she said.
“It’s about Madison. It’s not about being a Republican or Democrat,” Ballie said. "Every election that I won, people believed in my bipartisan message that I will respect everyone.”
Ballie decided to step back from politics in 2010 and spend time with her family. However, the abrupt firing of Borough Administrator Ray Cody last year infuriated her and caused her to run for council again.
To humiliate Cody the way the council did was reckless and despicable, she said. She and many residents were appalled by what took place.
“You don’t do this to any human being,” she said.
So, she reached out to friend and longtime resident Ben Wolkowitz because she knew he wanted to get involved and asked him to run with her. She said the council will work well together, stay focused on the budget and capital planning and partner with other towns and the school board to make Madison a thriving community.
Ballie said her experience and knowledge about the borough will help her succeed.
“I think I produced and I’ll produce again,” she said. “It’s amazing how people care about each other and it’s a wonderful town.”