My name is Rina Franchino, and I am running for Township Council to join the team that’s already accomplished a lot in just a little over 100 days. Voters have wanted Change We Can Agree On, and that’s exactly what’s being done by Angie and her Council team – Susan Poage, Alvaro Medeiros and Stephen Yellin. For them, it’s all about Progress We Can Count On, and Julie Figlar and I want to join Angie, Susan, Alvaro and Stephen in making more positive changes in the years ahead. 

I have lived in Berkeley Heights for almost 30 years, and graduated from Governor Livingston High School. My husband Frank, another longtime Berkeley Heights resident and GL graduate, and I have two children: Leo (age 5) and Ava (age 11), both of whom attend Berkeley Heights public schools. All put together, my family lives here, my children go to school here, and my roots are in this town. I am deeply invested and want to give back by serving on the Township Council. 

I have worked as an English teacher in the Rahway Public School district for 17 years. I am a certified special education teacher, with a Master’s in teaching from St. Mary’s University and a Bachelor’s in English from Kean University. I serve on the Diversity Council for Kean University, the Executive Council for the Rahway Education Association, and I negotiate contracts for my building as a Building Representative. I also ran for Township Council in 2015 and came within 100 votes of winning a seat. 

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Along with Julie Figlar, we want to continue the great progress Angie and the Township Council have made over the last few months. Berkeley Heights is paving a lot more roads, communicating much better and more actively with us, and coming up with creative solutions to fiscal challenges. For example, Angie and her team have voted to end open-ended contracts for many Township services, requiring contractors to demonstrate why they need additional funding. I know from experience that it’s not easy to negotiate with someone across the table who wants more of your money than you’re willing to give, and Angie and her team deserve a lot of credit for getting better deals for the taxpayers. 

For too long we’ve watched taxes increase with little to no transparency or without making meaningful efforts to responsibly manage our tax dollars. With smart strategies such as the shared service agreements with Union County, and the creation of a Grants Committee to help our town obtain more funds for critical projects, I know Angie and her team is doing what they were elected to do. Julie and I are excited to see the positive changes that have begun this year and pledge to join Angie, Susan, Alvaro and Stephen in making further progress.

Julie and I are looking forward to meeting with and listening to neighbors like you as we go door to door and have conversations in people’s living rooms in the weeks and months ahead. Please visit our campaign Facebook page, Julie and Rina 4 BH to learn more about us and our goals if elected. 

Rina Franchino