BERNARDS TOWNSHIP, NJ - Former Secretary of State John Kerry is scheduled to appear for Democrat Congressional candidate Thomas Malinowski from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 12, in the Performing Arts Center at Ridge High School.

Granting of use of the Ridge High School auditorium for a Democratic political event was explained by the Bernards Township Board of Education attorney at a meeting Monday night, Oct. 7.

Doors open at 4. You must register for tickets online; request a ticket athttp://bit.ly/kerrytownhall and be prepared to present it at the time of entry.

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Superintendent Nick Markarian said after the meeting that some people had questioned why the school was being used for a political event. Malinowski is in a close race challenging fifth-term incumbent Leonard Lance, a Republican, in the Nov. 6 election.

Board of Education attorney John Croot explained that public bodies had an obligation to allow use of facilities as a function of First Amendment freedoms of speech and assembly, as long as they meet rules and regulations (including user fees, insurance coverages and security).

Croot explained that “permitting an activity was not the same as endorsing an activity.” The use of the auditorium was approved through the normal administrative process, he said.

Malinowski served as an Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor from 2014 to 2017, during the period when Kerry, a former U.S. Senator, was at the head of the State Department in the Obama Administration. Malinowski and Kerry will talk about their time together at the State Department and answer questions in general, says a post on the county Democratic Party website.