To the Editor:
My name is Paul Kelley and I am running for one of the seats on our Borough Council in Chatham. How I came to join this ticket is rather unlikely but the “why” is more important. I have a wife who works, two children in our school system, a fairly busy work schedule, and like many Chatham parents, I never considered myself that politically driven. So how did I end up here? I was asked to join as a replacement candidate as Mr. Collander at a Labor Day party in Chatham as he is stepping down after 15 years. After some Q&A with some friends in the local political arena and discussion with my family, I accepted and I am very happy to have joined Bob Weber and Stacey McEvoy on the campaign trail. The “why” is easy. I love living in Chatham. My wife and I are raising our children here and I want to help it flourish for the next 20 years.
I am not sure anything prepares you to run for office the first time, but let me tell you what I pledge and something about me: First, I pledge to be reasonable in all facets of my involvement on the council, especially to all Chatham residents who come before the council. I promise to show respect and dignity to all reasonable questions, and dedicate the time to understand the agenda items. I will listen to all concerns with an open mind. I pledge to do what I think is best for Chatham and the greater community, not just for the immediate moment but for the long term future.
I have lived in Chatham for 10 years and in New Jersey for 21 years. While in Chatham I have been fortunate to build or re-build a number of homes and present to the zoning board on a number of variances and issues. I have hired experts and I have testified before the zoning and planning boards on numerous occasions and understand the work, cost and commitment that comes with going before each board. I would like to make that process easier and more efficient.
I started honing my leadership skills as an Eagle Scout at the age of 14. After graduating from college, I worked at KPMG and Deloitte in the forensic accounting and advisory practices which gave me an understanding of cost, development and long-term planning. I have helped to build companies and teams, listening to all sides before making a decision. Not every decision makes each side happy, there are winners and losers and not everyone gets what they want—but I always did what I believed was right. I will do the same for Chatham. Chatham Borough will require leaders to make decisions about redevelopment and our community that will affect our town for the next 50 years.
Over the last few weeks I have been able to go door to door in Chatham and meet many new neighbors. Along with Bob Weber and Stacey McEvoy, I have knocked on a lot of doors and have met Republicans, Democrats, Independents and lots of dogs. I had the pleasure and experience of being joined by Assemblyman Jon Bramnick on the campaign trail as well, knocking on doors while learning about some of the issues around the state of New Jersey. I left campaign fliers on plenty of doors and had long conversations with our neighbors, some have been here 50 years and have children and grandchildren living in town and some have just moved to Chatham. I listened to their concerns and we found common ground…Chatham, New Jersey. My goal and message are simple: I am your neighbor and I am here to help the community move forward.