Republicans Running for Chatham Township Committee Meet in League of Women Voters Forum

The candidates vying for the two Republican seats on ballot for Chatham Township Committee in the June 6 Republican Primary, l to r: Mike Kelly, Rez Estevez and Karen Swartz Credits: TAP Chatham
Bailey Brower Jr. objected to the format in which he contended left out questions he wanted asked during the forum Credits: TAP Chatham
Michelle Bobrow was the moderator for the League of Women Voters forum on Tuesday night at the Library of the Chathams Credits: TAP Chatham

CHATHAM, NJ - There are three candidates and two seats on the ticket, which will be decided by voters in the Republican Primary set for June 6.

Two incumbents running for re-election to the Chatham Township Committee and one newcomer came together to answer questions at the League of Women Voters of the Morristown Area forum held at the Library of the Chathams on Tuesday night.

Michelle Bobrow of the Maplewood-South Orange chapter of the League of Women voters, moderated the event.

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Deputy Mayor Karen Swartz and committee member Mike Kelly are each seeking their second three-year term and Rez Estevez is the "outsider" seeking election for the first time. All three voiced fairly similar views on taxes, fiscal responsibility, transparency, shared services, train station parking and affordable housing.

The only contentious moment came before the event started when former Chatham Township Committee member and longtime resident Bailey Brower Jr. objected to the format, which he said was a "manipulated process," and claimed that certain questions from the audience were not being asked.

"Issues that have been raised in Chatham Township and Chatham Borough that have torn this community apart and created a great deal of controversy," Brower said. "I think that each of the candidates has an obligation to answer the question that I would ask and I would ask if you can fit that question somewhere during the course of this meeting."

Bobrow answered Brower's objections by saying she would follow "parliamentary procedures."

During the forum, the candidates were asked written questions from the audience. One of the questions asked was whether Chatham Township should consider becoming a "Sanctuary" city. None of the candidates advocated for such a move.

Below are the full opening statements given by each candidate in the order they were given at the League of Women's forum.

Chatham Township Deputy Mayor Karen Swartz gives her opening statement

Newcomer candidate Rez Estevez gives her opening statement Tuesday

Chatham Township Committee member Mike Kelly gives his opening statement


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