BLOOMFIELD, NJ - Jenny Mundell (D) is one of six candidates, three Republicans and three Democrats, running for three seats on the Bloomfield Township Council in November.
Mundell is a candidate for First Ward Council. She works in the health care sector as a fundraiser, overseeing strategies for development departments at eleven hospitals and their hospice organization. Mundell has been a Bloomfield homeowner since 2010 and will have a child in kindergarten next year. She has a Bachelors degree in English from Pennsylvania State University and earned her Master’s degree in English from Montclair State University.
TAPinto: Thank you for taking the time to talk with TAPinto Bloomfield about the upcoming election. Since taking office May 31st of this year, what has been your biggest ‘eye opener’?
Mundell: The biggest eye opener has been how much work has been done to make sure the Township is operating at the level it should be. I had a sense of how much work the current administrator was doing. I only now understood that his role is to act as a COO for the town after taking office. I am happy with how well he has been running the operations.
There is still work to be done. The entire seated Council and the Mayor are invested in continuing to make progress.
TAPinto: What is the most compelling reason you stepped into the race for the First Ward Council seat? What issue will you champion for the citizens of the First Ward if elected?
Mundell: I have two answers to the most compelling reason I chose to run. My first answer is twofold. Number one: This has been an opportunity for me to give back to a community where I am raising my family and I own a home. Number two: It is an opportunity for me to advocate for my fellow citizens in terms of the towns development. This is particularly important in a time when it easy to sit behind a screen and complain about things you don’t agree with.
The second reason I am in the race is that we the people are the keepers of democracy. This requires us to take action and be involved. I hope to encourage others to do the same.
I think we need more community engagement in Bloomfield. The issue I will champion when I am elected is civic engagement.
TAPinto: What unique strength or experience do you have that will be a benefit to the citizens Bloomfield if you are elected? Please complete the statement: I am the only candidate who….
Mundell: I am possibly the only one who can do a yoga headstand. (laughter) I believe I am the only candidate with a background in community relations. This gives me a unique perspective on how to navigate and negotiate; to build consensus and compromise.
TAPinto: Think about this scenario: A benefactor leaves $1,000,000 to the town and stipulates that you have sole discretion as to how the money will be spent. It is also stipulated that you must spend the money in the 12 months following the election. How specifically will you spend the money?
Mundell: I would address some capital infrastructure needs such as upgrades to older buildings like the library, some of our roads and our water system. I would love to invest in converting our township buildings to use green energy. Anything leftover I would increase the book budget for the library.
TAPinto: What do you consider to be the number one opportunity associated with current and future development plans in Bloomfield?
Mundell: Development brings new resources and investors. This is an opportunity to work with the developers to bring in more amenities that people want in Bloomfield.
TAPinto: What is the number one challenge related to new development and how do you propose to address this challenge?
Mundell: Development is coming and there is no stopping it. We have a burgeoning restaurant scene. Bloomfield is an attractive place to live and we have to be smart about development. This happens at the planning and zoning board level. We have to continue to put smart people on these boards that have our citizens’ best interests at heart.
We also need to be educating our neighbors about what is coming. The real challenge is getting people involved and speaking up before the buildings go up. We may need to ask ourselves how to rethink processes and systems to ensure this is happing.
TAPinto: Other than the challenges relating to development, as a parent and homeowner, what is the main thing that might be keeping you up at night?
Mundell: I think it is the schools; even though this is out of the Council’s purview. We have to make sure our schools are meeting our needs, given the current demographics and development in Bloomfield.
TAPinto: What is your campaign slogan?
Mundell: “Keep Bloomfield Moving Forward”
TAPinto: What is the best way for the Bloomfield voters to reach you?
TAPinto: In closing, what would you like to say to the voters of Bloomfield?
Mundell: I’ve been grateful for the opportunity to get my feet wet a little early. I look forward to meeting and hearing from more of our amazing citizens in Bloomfield. Please go out and vote in the November election.