Dear Editor:

Last year, Chatham Borough had a record voter turnout, which I attributed to politics at the national level and voters seemingly wanting to send a message at the “Mid-Term” election. A clear message was sent. One of the primary reasons had to do with the Republican Party having lurched so far to the right on a federal, state and county level that I didn’t recognize my party anymore. I am a fiscal conservative and my views on all other issues range from moderate to sometimes mildly liberal. I feel no one represents my views. These are views I feel in my heart. Consequently, right after the 2018 election, I registered as an unaffiliated voter in order to select candidates on the basis of whom I perceive to be the most qualified to lead Chatham and can articulate a vision for the community we love.

In this November’s local election, several residents have contacted me asking for my thoughts on the race. I’ve told them that I plan to vote for the team of Thad Kobylarz for Mayor, and Irene Treloar, and Karen Koronkiewicz for Borough Council.

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Thad, Irene, and Karen are moderate, middle-of-the-road individuals who will govern in the best interests of Chatham. They have a vision for Chatham that tracks with my own. If you’ve seen the yellow banners along Main Street stating “Chatham: Destination Innovation”, those banners denote Thad Kobylarz’s vision for the River Road gateway to Chatham becoming a home to e-commerce companies. That will happen along with residential and retail opportunities and the promise of an additional NJ Transit train station on the Morris & Essex Line. What I like about this vision is that it moves Chatham into the future while being completely mindful of its past. It is about moving forward while keeping Chatham as Chatham. That’s a tough balance and I believe Thad Kobylarz’s team has achieved that tricky balance.

I have worked closely with Thad, Irene and Karen on the Underground Utilities Advisory Committee which I chair and we are making great progress. They are hard workers. They get things done and don’t shirk their responsibilities. That’s what a public servant must do. That’s what I did while I was in office.

We have an outstanding Senior Center of the Chathams and the efforts of Tri-Town 55 are admirable and continue to impress. That said, we need to do more by actively reaching out to seniors for advice so their issues are heard. Thad Kobylarz is endorsing the creation of a senior volunteer committee to ensure senior voices are heard. Seniors, like myself, want to age in place and want to be more fully incorporated into the fabric of the community. We must especially bring young and old together so we can learn from each other. I believe Thad, Irene, and Karen will continue to actively pursue this and I hope they ask for my advice on how seniors can be better served.

There is no Republican or Democratic way of delivering municipal services. I wish local elections were held in May and be completely non-partisan as they are in many New Jersey municipalities. Unfortunately, we have a partisan system. As an unaffiliated voter, I vote based on what I perceive is a moderate vision for Chatham and who would be best qualified to deliver on the vision I’d like to see. In my mind, that team is Thad Kobylarz, Irene Treloar, and Karen Koronkiewicz. Please join me in supporting them on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 5th.

Together, we will move Chatham forward and still keep Chatham as the charming borough it has been, remains today, and will still be tomorrow.

Len Resto