As a longtime participant in our community, including local government, I have seen the current Mayor and Township Council in action for the 6 years in which they’ve had complete control of local government. In most things, this means very little – most decisions made in local government are matters of common sense and can be decided quickly and easily.

It is because of the other things – the big decisions, the priorities the Township sets, and the need for all voices to be heard in setting these priorities – that I am proud to support Susan Poage and Alvaro Medeiros for Township Council.

Just as Jill Zatta and I campaigned on in 2016, Susan and Alvaro want to take a new, positive direction that brings all of us together in making real, tangible changes. They have proposed fresh, realistic plans to fix our roads, revitalize our downtown, upgrade our sports fields and crosswalks, and greatly improve how our town keeps residents informed and valued.

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Their experience as community leaders – Susan as a highly popular and award-winning teacher, Alvaro as a volunteer with the Boy Scouts and the Highlander Marching Band, as well as an executive at AT&T – makes them qualified to make whatever decisions face them if elected. I would not support them if I felt otherwise.

This means changing the status quo – the same group of people making the same decisions, shutting out those with different views in my opinion – without tearing others down or publicly bashing residents for offering legitimately different points of view. Susan, Alvaro, and those with them can truthfully say we have been respectful in pointing out where the governing body has fallen short, and where Susan and Alvaro can make a positive difference.

It is that refusal to swat at those who disagree with them that has earned them the support of hundreds of Republicans and Independents, including Republican Council candidate John Leo, all of whom believe it’s time for a change.

A vote for Susan and Alvaro is a vote that recognizes that while we have a great town, we can do better, and that electing the same group of people is not the way to make those changes happen. It is a vote for open, reasonable discussion and debate that welcomes all residents to participate, regardless of which “team” you are on. This is why their lawn signs are purple, not red or blue – because, at the end of the day, we are all in this together.

This Tuesday, vote for a new, positive direction, and help guide Berkeley Heights towards Change We Can Agree OnSusan Poage & Alvaro Medeiros for Township Council, Column A. You’ll be glad you did! 

- Stephen Yellin