SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ - South Brunswick Deputy Mayor Joe Camarota is running for re-election on the Township Council in this upcoming election on November 3rd, 2020. Mr Camarota has served on the township council since 2004 and has served as Deputy Mayor since 2018, he has been working as a public servant for over 30 years, by his own recollection.
Joe Camarota graduated from Seton Hall University with a double major in Political Science and Psychology and a Master’s Degree in Education. Since 1973, he has been working for Alpha Omega Amusement, a company that provides entertainment concepts such as ‘Dave and Busters, or ‘Chuck E. Cheese.’ He also serves as board president on American Amusement Machines Association which represents manufacturers of coin operated amusement machines.
Outside the entertainment industry,Camarota has served as the president of two other non profit organizations. He was the board president of ‘Hugs for Brady,’ which raises funds for children with cancer, and ‘Women Aware’ which aids women facing domestic violence.
Camarota has praised the work done by both the council and the Office of Emergency Management on handling the COVID-19 pandemic in the township. Camarota stated that it is the township’s obligation to listen to the best information available to them and redirect the appropriate funds to the OEM.
“The work is really being done by this group, they are there every day. We think it is best if we stand by them and encourage them the best way that we can,” the Deputy Mayor said, “Our township took a pretty bad hit, as did all townships. The best thing we can do is support the professionals.”
On the subject of racial tensions, Deputy Mayor Camarota said that South Brunswick is a proudly diverse community, which makes dialogue between different cultures vital to the community. This is what made South Brunswick ‘prepared to deal with this’ as Camarota said about recent Black Lives Matter rallies in the township.
“Everyone is involved and engaged here in South Brunswick, they work side by side. There are mosques, temples and churches here,” Camarota said, “People understand the different demographics and the problems that some people face in this country.”
Over the past few months, the township council has been struggling to rezone parts of the community for affordable housing due to a 2016 court order. Members of the council, including the Deputy Mayor, have voted for these ordinances ‘under protest’ and have been vocal about their concerns.
Camarota emphasizes that the township has always been welcoming to affordable housing but calls these demands 'egregious.’ Because of these new units, South Brunswick will have to drastically redesign roads, school districts and sewer systems to meet the demands.
“We are not ready to handle the massive boom in population in South Brunswick over the next five or six years, we are trying our best to fight this as much as possible,” Camarota said, “We can’t let people come in here and just start building without getting something back to the community.”
In the Deputy Mayor’s opinion, the biggest issue that the township faces is traffic. Over the past couple of years, he has been fighting with the state capitol in Trenton to allow residents to use the shoulder lane during peak rush hours on certain roads. His goal is to expand this service to the 13 miles of the township that expands on Route 1.
“I’ve been doing this for a while, I think that this has taught me that you have to be humble,” the Deputy Mayor said, “The key is listening, and once you understand and listen you can tackle a subject from all sides.”