As a candidate for Bernards Township Committee, I have met many of you at events all over town, visited you at your homes, served on task forces with you or saw you while out on errands. The question most often asked of me has been, “Where do you stand on the issues?” I want to take this opportunity to highlight where I stand on just some of the issues that are of concern to many of you.

The number one concern in our community is taxes. I will continue the Republican tradition of 100% debt free and pay-as-you-go government.  I will work with our department heads and ask them to continue to find ways to cut department spending, lobby our legislators to get our share of money back that Bernards residents send to Trenton, find more grant dollars, and consider shared services where beneficial to Bernards.

On the issue of affordable housing, we are privileged to live in a township nationally recognized as one of the best places to live. I am not opposed to affordable housing, but I’m opposed to it being forced on us by court order without our input and without a say in how it comes about. There are many questions that need to be asked and answered here in Bernards and not in courtrooms and meeting rooms in Trenton where judges and elected officials from outside of our community feel they have a mandate to make decisions that will impact our town. Bernards needs a voice. I will use my experience and contacts at the State level with Republicans, Independents and Democrats to address needed change.

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As a former small business owner, I understand that businesses are the engines that drive our community.  I’ve already been engaged with the Basking Ridge Business Alliance where businesses come together and discuss ways to promote and invest in our community.  I want to work with them to ensure that their needs are heard and they continue to prosper.

On the issue of substance abuse, I am determined to work toward awareness and prevention in Bernards. Making our residents aware of the threat posed by substance abuse is critical. I will bring together non-profit organizations, law enforcement, parents, educators and mental health professionals to address this crisis head-on.

On the issue of marijuana use, I am opposed to the legalization of recreational marijuana. I am not opposed to medical marijuana and am glad to see it accessible for those who need it in terms of pain management and quality of life as they deal with their respective illnesses. I am opposed to a marijuana dispensary in Bernards. While it possibly presents the opportunity for tax revenue, the negatives outweigh potential benefits.

On the issue of vaping, I am disheartened by the blatant attempt of the vaping industry to (successfully) market the product to children. The long-term effects of product use still haven’t been fully explored, but issues such as “popcorn lung” and the toxic chemicals being used by some manufacturers demand action at the community level. The deliberate targeting of children is appalling and needs to be addressed.

I will work to bring people together to put our community first. I encourage residents to stay engaged with my campaign by visiting my  website www.janicefields.com or following me on Facebook at Janice Fields for Bernards Township Committee.