RARITAN, NJ - She has raised her family in Raritan, and is concerned that she is watching the council unravel before her eyes – so Tracy Cavallaro is running on the Democratic ticket for one of two open seats on the Raritan Borough Council.
“I was walking around town last year and it was great, and I got to meet a ton of neighbors,” said Cavallaro, who was unsuccessful in a bid for council in 2013. “I would love to try and accomplish some of the things people are looking for that don’t get done. That’s what we are supposed to be here for as a town.”
Cavallaro lived in Raritan until she was 6 years old, when her family moved to Bradley Gardens in Bridgewater. After she got married in 1989, she moved back to Raritan, and raised her daughter and two sons in town.
“I like the people here and I like the atmosphere,” she said. “It is quaint and somewhat old-fashioned, people still have their traditions.”
After graduating high school in 1985, Cavallaro began working at AT&T, and then got involved in intellectual property at what is now Sanofi Aventis. After that, she began working in intellectual property with Colgate Palmolive in Piscataway, before moving to Schering Plough and then Wyeth.
For three years, until 2013, Cavallaro owned Tri State Insulators, an insulation business for HVAC.
Now, Cavallaro works for a law firm in Westfield, serving as a legal assistant for a partner there.
While working, Cavallaro earned her Associates Degree in business administration in 2005, and is currently working on a Bachelor’s Degree in business administration through the University of Phoenix.
Through the years, Cavallaro has been involved in her church, the North Branch Reformed Church in Bridgewater, and served as a Girl Scout leader, t-ball coach and cheerleading coach.
But in 2013, her friend approached her about running for council.
“I always like leadership, and had a role in Student Council, and have facilitated United Way events in corporate America,” Cavallaro said. “I said I thought I would try it.”
“We had some good guidance, and we asked for that, otherwise we would have gotten lost in the shuffle,” she added.
With her children still in town, and her son having moved to the new Stone Bridge condos with his new baby, Cavallaro said she wants to do what she can to improve the town.
“The council needs to change, it’s a one-party council with two completely different opinions,” she said. “They do nothing but bicker, and they are two ends of the spectrum.”
“We all have different opinions, but let’s bring some different views into the council and maybe we can facilitate more professional mannerisms,” she added.
With all the issues she heard just walking around town, Cavallaro said, she knows there is not much she can do about them from outside the council.
“Do I think I can make all these things happen, no, but I could at least have more power to say and be heard,” she said. “Even the littlest thing, if someone has an issue with the curb in front of their house, those are things we are supposed to be addressing on a case by case basis. We need to be addressing the needs of the town, hearing what folks are saying and concentrating on what we need to be a better town.”
Cavallaro said she is in favor of making changes to the Riverfront and improving it to entice more people to come to Raritan. But it is the smaller projects that she is not sure are being addressed.
“Orlando Drive is where people see us, but there are people living on side streets that have had concerns,” she said. “I think the smaller things are being forgotten.”
With lawsuits Raritan has been dealing with recently and more, Cavallaro said she wonders how taxes can ever be lower than they are now.
“How and where are we finding this money?” said Cavallaro, herself now a single mother. “I go from paycheck to paycheck, and if taxes go up, I will probably be forced to move.”
As for the beautification of Somerset Street, Cavallaro said she is definitely in favor of that, but believes more should be done, particularly with regard to snow removal.
“Snow has to be addressed, and not in the last week of the snow season,” she said. “We’re very lucky we didn’t have a disaster on our hands last year, but we have a lot of seniors, and it has to be a first priority.”
If elected, Cavallaro would also like to see more people attending meetings.
“They have become a handful of the same regulars,” she said. “I don’t know if people feel like they are never going to be heard, but then the majority will make the decisions.”