CHATHAM, NJ - Chatham Township resident Tracy Ness came to hear the candidates for Chatham Township Committee speak and said: "I'm looking for change."
Ness feels that the township has "lost its sense or community" and would benefit from more open discussion on issues between the Township Committee and residents.
Ness and others in attendance on Tuesday night got a chance to directly hear from three of the four candidates seeking the two open seats on the Chatham Township Committee in a forum sponsored by the Chatham Courier at the township municipal building.
The participants included, Democrat Stacey Ewald, who is running unopposed in the Democratic Primary on June 6. Political newcomer Rez Estevez and current committee member Mike Kelly, both Republicans, are vying for two spots on the ballot in the June Republican Primary. Unable to attend the forum was Chatham Township Deputy Mayor Karen Swartz, who is recovering from a medical procedure.
Moderator Phil Nardone read a written statement from Swartz, who is seeking re-election, which can be viewed below.
Chatham Township's unresolved third round of "Fair Share Affordable Housing," now being negotiated in the court system; train station parking, and community input in governance, were among the topics that came up in written questions from the audience.
Ewald, hoping to break into the all-Republican township committee, highlighted her background as an auditor and emphasized her desire to listen and collaborate with the public; Estevez, who has a background in both law and environmental science, talked about using modern technology to "pivot forward," and Kelly, former managing editor of the Independent Press, noted the accomplishments earned, such as an AAA financial rating, as a current member of the committee. Kelly said he got involved in government when he started a program to replace lost trees after Superstorm Sandy.
The closing statements of the three candidates can be viewed below, along with the written statement from Swartz that was read aloud.
Newcomer to politics in Chatham Township is Republican candidate Rez Estevez
Committee member Mike Kelly, running for re-election gives his closing statement
Democratic candidate Stacey Ewald gives her closing statement
Moderator Phil Nardone reads a statement submitted by Deputy Mayor Karen Swartz, who was unable to attend the forum because of a recent medical procedure