I am proud to be running for Mayor with my friends and neighbors in Column A, and I am deeply moved by the support I have received from so many of you already. Thanks to everyone who has reached out to discuss your concerns, make suggestions and offer encouragement. (If you have questions, you can always reach me at 732-406-2970 or email@example.com). We truly live in a wonderful community, one that my wife Staci and I chose to move to more than 20 years ago. We are proud to be raising our children in a place as diverse, caring, and kind as Piscataway. Our two sons, Billy and Sam, have thrived in Piscataway’s public schools. (Billy recently graduated, congratulations to the entire PHS Class of 2020!)
Back in 2012, running for local elected office was the furthest thing from my mind. However, Sam had 29 children in his second grade classroom that year. After talking with lots of neighbors and friends around Piscataway, I learned that overcrowding was a problem across the district. As a former teacher, I knew something had to change, so I ran for a seat on the Board of Education.
It was one of the greatest honors of my life to serve on the Board for two terms, from 2013-2019, and especially to be chosen by my peers on the Board as President from 2014-2017. During my time as President, Piscataway Schools earned numerous awards, including the National School Board Association’s Magna Award for the “You, I, We Inspire” effort. I worked with the Board, Administration, Staff and school community to improve the fiscal capacity of the district to meet Piscataway's growing needs. We spent your taxpayer dollars wisely, investing in improvements at all of our schools, which are widely used across our community.
Together, we adopted a class size policy to ensure that kids were not crowded in classrooms, we started broadcasting Board meetings and putting all put materials online, and we opened up the Committees of the Board to parents and interested community members. We made the Board open, transparent and responsive. These are some of the same issues facing our municipal government, and I know that we can solve them. We have done it before. (I am often asked about whether our classes and buildings can meet the growing demand of our families, as more people move into Piscataway. We can, because of the precise planning and allocation of resources the Board undertook during this time, including getting ahead of the curve by building new classrooms to ensure we have enough space for new students. If you have questions about this, please let me know.)
In addition to expanding academic opportunities for our students, I worked together with the Board to enact multiple policies to make our schools safe and welcoming places for our young people, teachers and community members. We launched a food justice initiative, so that no child would go hungry or feel ashamed about needing food assistance. We were the first district in the state to stand up to Donald Trump and ensure that all of our students, regardless of immigration status, sexual orientation or gender identity, would be protected and could learn in an atmosphere free from harassment, bullying, or intimidation. We improved mental health access for students and supported their efforts to speak out about school violence. I am a proud progressive Democrat, and I believe our elected officials at every level of government have an obligation to do everything we can to fight Trump, end structural inequity, and, especially in this moment, raise our voices and affirm the truth of the statement Black Lives Matter.
Further, I believe that public service is a privilege and a responsibility but not a permanent position. I chose to step aside after four years as President to make room for new voices in the Board’s leadership, and I chose not to run again after two terms because I believe in term limits. No elected official should treat being in office as an entitlement, or treat taxpayers with disdain. It is really unfortunate that the incumbents refused to debate publicly, because we all deserve to ask questions and get answers from our leaders. If elected, I will work hard for each and every Piscataway resident, but I will not be in office forever. Government can and should welcome new people and new ideas. Our officials should always try to solve problems collaboratively. Together, we can change our government’s mindset from “It can’t be done” to “We are going to do it – let’s talk about how.”
I have had the pleasure of coaching many children as a volunteer coach for the Piscataway Little League and the Rec Baseball league. I have many hobbies that I like to pursue whenever I can, including fishing, classical piano, working on cars or any sort of home improvement, powerlifting, chess, literature, and poetry. I earned my Bachelor of Arts from Rutgers University with dual majors in English and Political Science, and I hold a Master of Education in Social Studies Education from Rutgers Graduate School of Education. In addition to my experience teaching in the Plainfield Public School system, I have spent more than 20 years working in the financial industry.
I am deeply committed to the promise of public service for public good and believe Piscataway’s future should work for all its residents. I ask for your vote for me, and along with my friends and running mates Ralph Johnson, Laura Leibowitz and Kamuela "Nikki" Tillman and the rest of the candidates in Column A. We are the Democrats on Your Side, and we will work for you.