BERNARDS TWP., NJ _ Looking ahead to the November election, Bernards Township Democrats also have endorsed two candidates for Township Committee prior to the upcoming June primary election. Those two candidates, Dr. Sophia Chadda and Jonathan Sandler, recently announced not only their candidacies but also expressed support for the proactive measures taken by Bernards Township officials to minimize the threat of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the community.

The Bernards Township Democratic Committee endorsed Chadda and Sandler at its 2020 committee meeting in early March to seek election to the two seats up for election on the Bernards Township Committee this year. Chadda and Sandler will run on the Democratic line in the June primary and November general elections and were selected by the BTDC from the three applicants who wanted to serve.

Republicans have also endorsed Bernards Township Committee candidates

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Mayor James Baldassare, Jr., who is completing his first term on the Bernards Township Committee, and newcomer Kathleen Grochala recently received the endorsement of the Bernards Township Republican Municipal Committee (BTRMC) to run on the GOP line for two open three-year Township Committee terms in the November 2020 election. 

Soon announcing their candidacies, both Democratic candidates offered their support for efforts underway locally to combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

“I would like to thank the Bernards Township Board of Health and Board of Education, along with our public and private school administrators, for their hard work, careful evaluation, and focused action to keep our community safe,” said Dr. Chadda, who is a practicing dentist in Bernards Township. “Although it may be an inconvenience to our daily lives, it is imperative we practice social distancing to ‘flatten the curve’ to avoid burdening our local health care system, which can quickly become overwhelmed. We should follow recommendations of our public health officials for the safety of our community and to especially protect those who are immunocompromised or over the age of 60.”

Sandler agreed. “I would like to express my appreciation to the Board of Education, our first responders, and support personnel for their swift and decisive action taken to help ensure the safety of our community and our children,” he said. “During this unprecedented time, I have no doubt the entire Bernards Township community will come together to ensure the continued health and welfare of the residents of Bernards Township and the surrounding areas.”

The two candidates also later sent out a message opposing "the hurtful rhetoric being used against the Chinese community with respect to the COVID-19 pandemic and condemn its use both here in Bernards Township and around the country."

The two said in a joint release that the virus does impact one community more than any other, and added, "No community or nation is to blame. Bernards Township is a community that embraces people from all nations and ethnic backgrounds.  At this time of uncertainty, we should come together to work towards a united goal of defeating COVID-19." 

Chadda, who also ran for Township Committee in 2019, has lived in Bernards Township for more than 20 years with her husband, and raised her three children here. She has been practicing as a board-certified periodontist for 20 years and established a thriving dental practice on Stonehouse Road in Basking Ridge in 2004. A graduate of Columbia University and SUNY Buffalo Dental School, she completed her periodontal residency at Rutgers Dental School (formerly UMDNJ), conducted research on the link between cardiovascular disease and dental disease and was twice awarded “Top Dentist” by New Jersey Monthly Magazine. Chadda also is on the board of trustees of the International Foundation for Progress, which runs a free school and health clinic for 175 children in Pakistan and aims to provide education and healthcare to impoverished children in the developing world.

She is a graduate of Leadership Somerset, a county program that supports leaders dedicated to their local communities. Locally, she has served on the Bernards Township Board of Health. She also is a member of the Commission on the Status of Women and volunteers at the local schools her children attend.

“I chose Bernards Township 20 years ago as the place to raise my family and five years later chose to build my business here. I’m confident I will be a valuable asset to our town’s future,” Chadda said. “Although I came in a close second in the previous township committee election, I learned so much speaking individually with more than 200 business owners and knocking on more than 5,000 residents’ doors, and am even more determined to make a difference in the town I love. My evidence-based approach to solving problems and making decisions will increase transparency, reduce waste, and encourage greater participation of my fellow residents in our civic affairs. I would be honored to serve my township neighbors and work to improve our future together.”

Sandler, a lifelong New Jersey resident and attorney in the Commercial Litigation practice group of Riker Danzig Scherer Hyland Perretti, LLP in Morristown since 2007, has lived in Bernards Township since 2015. He resides with his wife Kelly, also a practicing attorney, and daughters Avery and Finley, students at the Oak Street School. A 2002 graduate of Montclair State University with a B.S. in Business Administration with a double concentration in Finance and Management, he graduated Rutgers Law School in 2006. 

Active in Bernards Township, Sandler has coached his daughters' basketball and softball teams and has also been the Circle Leader in the YMCA Adventure Guides Program. He also serves on the Board of Trustees for Temple Har Shalom in Warren.

“I’m honored the BTDC endorsed my candidacy and supports my desire to serve the community that means so much to me and my family,” Sandler said. “With my legal and business experience, including successfully representing municipalities and negotiating with developers, I will proactively, effectively, and efficiently advocate for township residents and businesses. I will work tirelessly to ensure that Bernards Township’s potential as the preferred community to live, work shop, and operate a small business is maximized and maintained for years to come.

“We’re thrilled to have such talented and accomplished people choosing to serve our community and look forward to the leadership and our shared values they will bring to office,” said Nancy D’Andrea, BTDC Chair. “Our residents are more engaged than ever before, want to be part of the solution, and value the intelligence and pragmatic approach Dr. Chadda and Mr. Sandler bring. They are the leaders Bernards Township needs to solve our challenges, safeguard our tax dollars, and ensure the township, not developers, control our destiny. Our town deserves nothing less.”

For more information on Sophia Chadda and Jon Sandler for Bernards Township Committee, please visit chaddasandler2020.com.