Dear Editor,

I doubt I can name two people in Chatham Township whom I’d less want to see running for one nomination than Mayor Kevin Sullivan and his challenger Kathy Abbott. They are both extraordinary human beings, selfless volunteers and effective leaders.

Chatham Township is privileged to have them both serve our community. And it says something wonderful about our town that both of them live here and are willing to give us so much of themselves.

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But they are both on the ballot for the Republican nomination in the same year, and anyone who votes is forced to make a choice.  I come to my conclusion by this reasoning alone: even if my own brother or sister were challenging Kevin Sullivan, the incumbent, I simply could not vote to remove him from the Township Committee.

As Mayor for the past two years, he has been highly effective in ways too numerous to mention. In 2014, he was the Township’s leader in securing an incredible $13.8 million in outside grants to preserve the Giralda Farms property for the public’s enjoyment and to protect our town’s beauty, balance and water supplies. That amount of grant money is far more all Township residents pay in property taxes for municipal purposes in an entire year—closer to 18 months, in fact!  That alone, in my mind, makes it impossible for me to vote against him, no matter who is challenging him. 

But Kevin has done even more than that.  He led the Township in cutting our municipal taxes for two straight years.  He was quick to respond as Mayor to residents’ wishes to vigorously oppose the Pilgrim crude oil pipeline that threatens our peace of mind – and he has become an inspiration to many other to other towns in this regard.

I have seen him conduct the town’s business with civility and grace, and treat people with respect while being firm and decisive, too. In the 10 or 12 Township Committee meetings I have attended in the past two years that he has been Mayor, he has exhibited great care for residents who have come before the Committee with concerns and requests.

He works very hard to be accessible and fair. Above all, his leadership and decency as a human being have made me even prouder to tell people I live in Chatham Township. 

I could write at length about Kathy Abbott’s tireless, pragmatic and conscience-driven service to Chatham Township and to society, but couldn’t even cover it all because she has been serving for much longer than the six years I’ve lived here. She would be just as dedicated in her second term on the Township Committee as she was during her first term. She has more than earned my vote. And she is a good friend.  But no matter who chose to challenge Kevin Sullivan, I just couldn’t vote to send him off the committee, after all he has done as Mayor. 

I ask every Republican in Chatham Township to vote on June 2nd, while remembering how fortunate we are to have such extraordinary people willing to volunteer to make our town an even more wonderful place to live.

Sincere regards,

Joe Basralian

24 Fairfax Terrace, Chatham Township