To the Editor:

I should like to congratulate and extend appreciation to Stacey Ewald and Celeste Fondaco, along with their fellow Democrats in the borough, for staying true to their vision, acting with principles, valuing civility, taking a stand against bullying and fear-mongering politics. Indisputable ideals such as the importance of civility, fair-play, honesty, and authenticity aren’t to be sacrificed.

Evidently that notion wasn’t shared by a faction of local, self-identified conservative Republicans during their campaigns and their tenure in government. All along they demonstrated an abandon of these ideals in favor of power and of winning at all cost. 

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One just had to read and re-read their copious letters warning of calamity and wrought with insults, or attend some committee meetings, to see this in action.

Bailey Brower’s self-aggrandizing Watchdog Reports along with very harsh and often inaccurate statements advanced by Republican candidates and their base show they maintain no self-regulating boundaries. Instead, and often without any hesitation, they cross the line to chase winning at all cost particularly by demoralizing any candidates or committee members who don’t acquiesce to their mandates and mindset.

However, township constituents did not embrace these audacious behaviors and by their vote resoundingly rejected the scurrilous lies and affronts.

To illustrate, voters did Not believe Stacey Ewald (D.) is radical or a progressive but rather saw her for what she is and ran on - a moderate. She is not out to advance an agenda that will single-handedly bring Chatham to the point of no return degeneration as her adversaries tried to promulgate. In fact, Stacey will add decency, decorum, realness, and logic to our township government. As our elected official she will use the same resiliency and determination she exhibited in her campaign to now advocate for the best interests of our community.

It is apparent voters rejected the inflammatory rhetoric Republicans tried to advance seemingly for no other purpose than to be meanspirited and to muddy the waters. It was unnecessary for them to attack people not even running in the race. But they did and those attacks deserve rebuke as follows:

Kathy Abbot (R.)was not and is not bitter about losing a seat on the committee; rather she quickly channeled her energies and talents in other volunteerism areas to serve our town. She brings integrity to all endeavors. 

Tracy Ness (D.), current committee member, was not foaming at the mouth to overthrow our local government by a coup. Rather, Tracy, a team player, approaches problem-solving with an eye on consensus. She is fair-minded and trustworthy.

Mike Kelly (R.) and Tayfun Selen (R.) are not traitors to their party (or to townsfolk) simply because they are not conservatives and because they see the importance of bipartisan governance. They are decent gentlemen dedicated to civic duty and anyone should feel proud to call them neighbor. These are just some of the ethical, nice people, side by side with victors, Ewald and Fondaco that Republicans chose to defame.

For too long in this community, a certain subgroup of Republicans have tried to control the narrative by branding anyone who doesn’t hold conservative beliefs and thinks differently the enemy of the state and of Chatham. Perhaps that was one of the most disturbing distortions they advanced. Perhaps you, like me, are the “someone else” who doesn’t fully share conservative views; by fault, our allegiance to Chatham and our motives were always questioned.

One can certainly be a moderate Republican, an Independent, a Democratic and unequivocally be a loyal citizen, an upstanding member of Chatham,  intelligent, a capable leader, a dedicated volunteer, a trusted neighbor, a values-oriented person. The results of the election support this.

Thank you for the chance to express my opinion.

         “aunt”Jane Devlin

             Chatham Twp.