BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Each week leading to the November 5 election, the candidates running for Berkeley Heights Township Council have the opportunity to answer question(s) that will be run in a series by TAPinto Berkeley Heights.
The following answer is from Republican Township Council Candidate Gentiana Brahimaj for Week 1.
Week 1 Questions:
- Why are you Running for Office?
- What unique skills or knowledge will you bring to the elected office you are seeking?
- What do you think the major issues facing Berkeley Heights are at this time?
Why are you running for office?
My name is Gentiana Brahimaj. I have lived in Berkeley Heights for over 19 years and raised my 3 children here. I am passionate about our town and helping people.
I feel my professional and public record evidence excellent communication skills and an ability to relate to people from all walks of life and backgrounds. My main desire in seeking office is to help others, I do not have high political aspirations, my only goal is to serve and provide accountability to decisions affecting our community.
Being able to knock on doors, talk to people, listening to their concerns and having them believe in me is one of the most rewarding experiences in this campaign.
What unique skills or knowledge will you bring to the elected office you are seeking?
I held many positions throughout my life. I started working as a business manager in the airline industry managing the company’s budgets, resources and client services. As a paralegal, I have extensive experience researching and drafting legal documents and contracts, case planning, development and management, as well as appearances in court hearings. This experience has instilled in me the attention to detail and keeping an eye on policy changes.
My current experience in the hospitality industry has helped me evolve and understand what it takes to run and operate small businesses and how to make them successful.
In a nutshell my diverse professional experience will be well suited and much needed on our Town Council.
We need to work together and not against each other. My ability to bring people together and reach across the aisle are important and necessary qualities in order to serve on the Town Council.
A lot of our residents move to Berkeley Heights because of the small town feel, proximity to New York, great schools and because it’s a wonderful community to raise a family. We need the right leaders who will work together to make sure we are conservative with our budget while maintaining our property values and strive to make our schools greater so Berkeley Heights can continue to be a desirable place to live for years to come.
I want to be clear that the term “small town feel” to me means how we treat each other. I welcome the growing diversity in our town and feel it will add to the warmth and support we provide to each other in the face of change and difficulties.
What do you think the major issues facing Berkeley Heights are at this time?
While campaigning and going door to door, some of the most important issues I heard from our residents are:
- Keeping our taxes low and maintaining a stable budget without any tax hikes. We recently started construction on our new Municipal Building. This costly project will serve our town and its residents for generations to come. It is extremely important that we stay on budget.
- The condition of our roads and aging infrastructure in relation to the taxes our residents pay. Our state is often faced with harsh winters causing major damage to our roads. We must restore the capital road repaving plan to ensure money is set aside solely for roads.
- Getting the most of our town’s shared services and putting the needs of Berkeley Heights first and not Union County. Shared services are a great way to save money but not at the cost of reducing services to our residents. A process needs to be put in place to ensure sharing services is fully vetted and best practices are defined.
- Many of our residents face daily commuting issues with NJ transit. Since accepting the nomination, I did not wait to get to work. I contacted town representatives from Stirling, New Providence and Summit to discuss and form the Gladstone Commuter Alliance. This team will meet on a monthly basis to discuss NJ transit issues, offer residents another avenue to bring up ideas, changes and improvements, and ensure we have a voice in Trenton.
- Revitalizing and having a walkable downtown is also a very important issue I am passionate about. I believe our town can benefit from collaborating and partnering with our neighboring towns by promoting each other’s events and working with them in developing and executing new ideas that will help our businesses thrive. If elected, I will form a joint business committee with New Providence, Summit and Stirling led by business owners and one representative from each Town Council. This committee will meet on a regular basis to develop and execute an economic and business plan, conduct research and market analysis making sure we attract viable businesses to our town.