Meet the Candidates: Chatham Borough

Marcy Wecker
Jim Lonergan
Gerald Helfrich
Nelson Vaughan
Bruce Harris

CHATHAM BOROUGH, NJ - This November, Chatham voters will decide if incumbent Democratic Mayor V. Nelson Vaughan III will continue on to a second term or if sitting council member Bruce Harris, a Republican, will lead the borough into 2012.

There are also two council seats up for grabs; the June 7 primary elections favored current council member James Lonergan (R), former Board of Education member Gerard J. Helfrich (R) and Chairwoman of the Community Garden Committee Marcy Wecker (D).

Mayor Nelson Vaughan, who was elected in 2007, emphasizes his love for Chatham: “I was privileged to grow up in the borough. I still live in my parents’ home and I raised my children in the Borough; one still lives here,” he says.

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“It’s a wonderful honor to be mayor and I feel that I have a long-term perspective and vision for the Borough that is consistent with the majority of the borough residents.”

Vaughan currently serves on the Planning Board, Library Board, Municipal Alliance Committee and Public Arts Committee. He also adopted the Mayor’s Wellness Campaign, which empowers the citizens of Chatham to make their health and wellness a priority.

Bruce Harris, a 30-year borough resident, has served on the Chatham Borough Council since 2005. He serves on the Planning Board and the Land and Historic Conservancy Committee and is head of the Council Finance Committee. He has also been involved in the Environmental Commission and Open Space Committee.

“After 13 years in volunteer service in Chatham’s local government, I am ready to guide our town as mayor,” Harris said. “The challenge has remained, with all of the pressures on budget and finance, to maintain ourselves as a distinct community. As mayor I would continue to focus on shared services, to stay within tax and budget caps and to take steps to fix problem areas like parking.”

Harris believes that as mayor he would be able to bring people together to solve problems. “It is important to be able to listen to the ideas of others and help them implement those ideas. You don’t lead by telling people what to do; you lead by helping people making their own ideas become reality,” he explains.

“Chatham is a very special place. We have a great community and a great history. It is a special small town that reminds me of many of the values that I grew up with in the Midwest,” Harris says.

Council President Jim Lonergan, a 17- year resident of Chatham Borough, was first elected in 2008 and is seeking re-election as Council Member. Over the past three years, he has served on Finance Committee, Department of Public Works Committee, Shared Services, Recreation, Chamber of Commerce, Local Assistance Board, Shade Tree Committee and has acted as the liaison to the Memorial Park & Pool committee.

Lonergan feels he has much more to contribute to Chatham Borough through his community volunteerism on Council.

“Chatham is a great community. My goal for a second term is to keep our town attractive, safe and enjoyable, not just for my family but for all the families and residents of Chatham. That happens when volunteer citizens step forward and lead through committed actions and efforts, not just words,” he says.

Gerry Helfrich, a 48 -year resident of Chatham Borough, has served the Chatham Community in numerous volunteer efforts, most recently as a member of the Board of Education for the past nine years, of which he served two years as President.

“When you grow up and live in a town like Chatham, you know that you have to step up to the plate and help out. I have no larger political aspirations, I just want to focus on the needs of Chatham,” he explains.

“I am honored to be a candidate for Chatham Borough Council and I look forward to continuing my contributions to our great town as a member of Borough Council.”

Marcy Wecker presently serves as the Chairwoman of the Community Garden Committee and was the Chairwoman of the Land and Historic Conservancy Committee from its inception and for the past two years.

“I am committed to keeping Chatham affordable for our families and seniors. As an attorney, I will use my training to help the council keep our taxes affordable while providing the services that Chatham residents have come to expect,” she promises.

“We have a wonderful place in Chatham and it’s important to keep it that way. I have proven that I am committed to making Chatham a better place to live and now want to do more by serving on the council.”

“I am very excited to run for council,” Wecker says. “I believe that Chatham is one of the best places to live and I want to keep it that way and make it better. I am committed to making Chatham a better place for us all to live.” 

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