As the 2020 election nears, it’s more important than ever to choose candidates that represent the values defining how we want to live. There is no question that Bernards Township needs to elect Dr. Sophia Chadda and Jon Sandler, Esq., to the Township Committee.

Sophia, a local periodontist and mother of three, has spent countless hours speaking to every business in Bernards Township to find out what they need in order to succeed. As a medical professional, she is fully aware of the need to protect the community from Covid-19; as a business owner, she realizes that livelihoods are on the line. By following the laws and implementing rigorous infection-control protocols in her own office, she has continued to treat patients safely while earning a living and keeping us healthy.

Sophia’s running mate, attorney Jon Sandler, has a wealth of knowledge as outside litigation counsel for municipalities. He is thoroughly versed in local laws and statutes regarding affordable housing, and has worked with both townships and real estate developers in this regard. Jon’s experience will prove absolutely invaluable as Bernards Township continues to deal with affordable housing and development issues. In addition, Jon is a father of three young children--including a newborn--and is committed to Bernards Township for the long haul.

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Both Sophia and Jon are supportive of, and emblematic of, the beautiful diversity of Bernards Township residents. I can confidently say there are no more intelligent, thoughtful, and inclusive candidates to lead this town than these two.

Contrast this with the sentiments of first-time candidate Kate Grochala, whose immortal words were captured on a community Facebook page during the height of New Jersey’s Covid-19 infection: “I’m walking/running in the streets without a mask. Read the Constitution. Crybabies, I’m taking my rights back.” Yes, you read that right. A candidate to lead this town antagonized its citizens by calling them “crybabies” and asserted that she would be deliberately ignoring expert advice to wear masks as an important way to keep each other safe, including advice from our township’s own health officer.

More recently, Grochala stood at the lectern during the public comment section of a Township Committee meeting and read a speech about what she would do if elected to the committee. This active campaigning while in a taxpayer-funded government venue must have been okay with her running mate, Mayor James Baldassare, who failed to call out its inappropriateness. 

Bernards Township desperately needs new leadership that is not tone deaf. We need leadership that embraces the values we hold dear: integrity, conscience, morality, and rationality. Vote for a better community. Vote for Chadda and Sandler.


Laurie Saloman

Basking Ridge