To the Editor: 

Umbrage is once again the called for response to the unfair, almost surreal, backlash against the lone Democratic representative on the township committee by its conservative members - past and current. The relentless attacks against centrist Republicans are equally disconcerting. 

Based on this backlash it is ominous to entertain the vilification in store for Stacey Ewald (D-candidate) once campaigning revs up for the local general election (November 2019). 

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Stacey Ewald (D-candidate) and Tracy Ness (D-committee member-elect) deserve esteem and appreciation for their continued dedication to our community, their tenacity, their willingness to serve, and their refusal to capitulate under pressure from the conservative majority. 

The co-authors of the letter “Four Chatham Township  Mayors Endorse Rez Estevez and Mark Hamilton” (TAP-June 1 ) are past and current committee members, (including the incumbent Ms. Ness bested in 2018) who combined had conservative control of the mayoral seat for nearly a decade, and control at-large even longer. So it is not at all surprising that four conservative mayors would endorse the conservative nominees. 

This aligns with the point advanced in my letter 

“Signs Show Township Committee Needs More Balance” (TAP-May 28), namely anyone is certainly welcome to self-identify as a conservative and can endorse anyone they choose.

That said and accepted, it is still uncalled for to besmirch those townsfolk who choose to affiliate differently, who are more moderate, or who may have new ideas.

As the four co-authors went on to say, there are many reasons for Chatham’s successes.

The dedicated talents of Democrats and non-conservatives can contribute to our town’s successes and there is nothing to say they can not be stewards in government too. 

Perhaps the only likely way for a new non-conservative committee member to fail right from the “get-go” would be if their conservative counterparts remain unilaterally fixed in their mindset and refuse to work across the aisle with any moderates. 

Hopefully, this would not happen going forward. However, if it were the case then one would have to ask really how effective would the conservatives be as stewards.

Thank you for the opportunity to respond to the letter by the four conservative mayors.

"aunt" Jane Devlin

Chatham Township