I’m writing this Letter to the Editor in support of Edmund Tom Maciejewski, candidate for Town Council in Berkeley Heights.

I’ve been a resident of Berkeley Heights for over 17 years now, arriving in order to do science at Bell Labs after earning my Ph.D. at M.I.T., but staying because I loved living here. Mayor David Cohen performed our marriage ceremony in 2002, and in 2006 needing more space for a growing family, we upgraded just 1000 feet across the railroad tracks near downtown, rather than leaving town. Our three kids attend the Berkeley Heights public school system. Naturally, I care deeply about the town and want to do everything in my power to nurture and protect it, which led me to writing this letter. Although I grew up in Brooklyn NY, I was born nearby in Morristown, and my Dad worked at Bell Labs too. So this area is my home in the strongest sense of the word.

I’m supporting my friend Tom for Councilman because he would be a breath of fresh air for a town that needs positive change and good strategy for a prosperous future. Having known Tom for almost five years now, I’ve seen incredible enthusiasm, passion, deep caring, and a thorough eye for detail in everything he’s done during that time. He’s an inspiration to those who know him, for instance recently going back to university and earning a second degree in chemical engineering, after a long successful career as a technologist and software developer on Wall Street. On the creative side, he’s an accomplished artistic photographer and experienced photojournalist as well. Tom and his family have been in Berkeley Heights for over 11 years already, and I believe now’s his time to make a difference.

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I mention his creativity because that would be just one of Tom’s assets as a Councilman; already he’s come up with some of the most interesting proposals in this campaign season, such as how we can actually get our roads fixed right now even with the budgetary constraints we face. He also sleuthed out some of the ugly facts and political machinations associated with the proposed “Swap” transaction and new municipal building, which he will be able to rectify if elected.

Tom’s dedication to openness and transparency is also admirable, since we all know in our bones that closed door meetings and deals are the antithesis of legitimate and democratic government. So I applaud the initiative Tom has taken to publicize various official town meetings through modern-day technologies such as live video streaming. There’s no reason citizens shouldn’t be able to benefit from that, so I am puzzled and troubled by the official pushback he’s gotten.

I also like that Tom’s not another accountant-type proposing financial wizardry as a solution to our problems, or a politician with any sort of personal ambition, but rather he’s just another citizen like each of us, who cares deeply about the town and has the good fortune of time and energy to be able to do something about it. I like that Tom stands for some very specific and beneficial issues for Berkeley Heights which I am sure he will attack with gusto and achieve excellent results for all of us once elected.