The election for Township Council is over, and the voters of Berkeley Heights have spoken. I congratulate Jeanne Kingsley and Bob Woodruff on their victory. While I did not see eye-to-eye on them on the issues facing our community, I know they are good people who are dedicated to Berkeley Heights. I wish them and the Township Council the best of luck in the year ahead.

For my part ,I have no regrets in seeking a Council seat this year. I ran to give the voters a choice between what we have now and what could be done better. Although I am disappointed in the outcome, I take pride in knowing that I earned many more votes than any other Democrat on the ballot. Enough voters felt that it was worth crossing Party lines to support me that I earned almost 40% of the vote, over 250 votes ahead of my "running mate." To those who trusted me as a individual to serve on the Township Council as your voice, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

The low voter turnout (2,400 or so out of 9,100) is understandable due to the devestating storm that wrecked havoc in our community. It is my hope that the residents of Berkeley Heights will become more involved in local government, and that the Council will become more active in reaching out to us for our input and advice. 1-party rule and a closed group of leaders is a poor way for any community to be led, and all of us - Democrats, Republicans and Independents alike - must seek to hold them accountable.

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In closing, I want to thank a few individuals who played a major role in my campaign, and to whom I am particuarly thankful as Thanksiving approaches:

Howard and Betty Geminder - for their committmen to an uphill slog in electing Democrats in a Republican town;

Denis and Melba Smalley; Tony and Toni DePaola; and Bruce and Meara Nigro - for opening their homes to support my campaign, and spreading the word as best as possible.

Lillian Weisgerber - this wonderful mainstay of our community, who did so much to encourage senior citizens to vote for someone young enough to be their grandson.

Lastly and most importantly, my family - who have given me so much and asked for so little in return.

I am committed to this community for the long-run. While I have no plans to seek a Council seat next year, I will certainly work hard to organize the Democratic Party in Berkeley Heights, so that a viable 2-party system exists here once again.

Stephen Yellin