The League of Women Voters Forum gave residents the opportunity to hear from Kevin Sullivan for the first time during this campaign season.
And what they heard brought to light clear differences in our views of our community and how to move forward.
Staying the course is not the best course when we are losing services, stifling volunteers and seeing our taxes go up this year.
I believe we need a five-year plan for our township to plan for the future and determine what we can and can't afford given an expected 2% increase in labor costs and up to 10% increase in benefits in 2019, as referenced in the 2018 budget.
Sullivan's first response was, "Russia had a five-year plan and see how well that worked out for them." What does Russia have to do with our community?
His response about new ideas, new advisory committees and township communications were equally puzzling.
On advisory committees, I believe the more volunteer input the better. In lieu of a salaried rec director, I proposed a Community Affairs committee made up of volunteers to create events for all ages and work with Colony Pool to bring back a summer camp. Sullivan did not have an answer saying he had not thought of any new committees.
On communications, I believe we should have communication policy that advises on important decisions being discussed, drives enrollment in programs we offer so they don't get canceled like our tennis camp and ensure that we treat residents with respect and not belittle them.
Mr. Sullivan said the agendas are on the website and if people want to be involved they will. And with respect to residents being demeaned or belittled either through online responses or during public comment, the best answer he could offer was that "it wasn't me."
Mr. Sullivan also wants to sidestep our oath of office to uphold state and federal law regarding his religious views of same-sex marriage. Asserting his 1st amendment right to express his faith in office, Sullivan would choose not to perform any marriages rather than be held to performing a same-sex marriage.
While performing marriages is not common, it does speak to equal representation for all in our community. I appreciate all religious faiths, but I don't believe that one person's beliefs should influence public policy.
I wish the forum could have been televised for residents to hear the candidates speak on the issues. Especially as Sullivan has not taken advantage of the media opportunities to express his views and vision for the township. Seems like the same old playbook will happen again this year. Don't engage or campaign and send out a negative mailer days before the election. It doesn't change from year to year. But it needs to change.
We can do better and together we can build a stronger future for our community. I ask for your vote on Nov. 6th.