CLARK, NJ – It’s an election year for three Clark Township council positions and the mayor’s seat.  Incumbent Republicans Angel Albanese, Al Barr and Bill Smith face challenges from Democrats Jerry Fogle, Michele Miller and Patrick Murphy.  Republican mayor Sal Bonaccorso, seeking reelection to a fifth term, is challenged by Democrat Dario Valdivia.

TAPinto Clark will profile each of the candidates in the days leading up to Election Day on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016 with a series entitled "Five Questions with..."  Look for a new profile every three days.  This is the fifth profile in the series:

Name:  Patrick Murphy

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Current Occupation: Automobile and Diesel Mechanic

Education: Union County Community College, Degree AAS, Kean University BA in Finance          

Family: Wife Nancy and two children

Years lived in Clark: Twenty Years

1. Why are you running for Town Council?

I’m running for town council because I believe that our residents deserve to have a voice in the governing process of this town. I cannot tell you how many times I have watched as honest, hard-working residents rise to voice their concerns at town council meetings and in other open public forums only to have those concerns dismissed outright by the mayor and councilmembers.

One party rule has had a detrimental effect on the governance of this town and, along with my incredible running mates, I am seeking public office to change the tone in town hall and give my fellow residents a chance to be heard again.

2. Property taxes never go out of style. Discuss the state of property taxes in Clark.

The state of property taxes in Clark is terrible and that fact alone was one of the biggest motivators in my decision to seek election to town council. One party rule has produced a mayor and council who are too comfortable raising taxes to plug any budget hole that arises.

Like many of you, I work hard to make ends meet and I expect the same of those who are elected to serve us to do the same. Since the current administration took control, taxes have risen dramatically. That is inexcusable and, as your councilman, I will look to increase efficiency in government and eliminate wasteful spending. 

3. The Westfield avenue corridor is a concern to business and resident. What do you think can and should be done along Westfield Avenue and how can you shape its future?

The first step should be the undertaking of a market and retail analysis to determine what businesses are best suited to the market needs of the surrounding area. The Westfield Avenue corridor is one of the more heavily traveled roads in town and serves as a public face for Clark. We need a shopping area that is convenient for our residents, attractive to outsiders and properly represents the beauty that we all know Clark possesses.

The state of Westfield Avenue has existed for far too long and I have no doubt that it will continue to remain the same without a change in leadership in town. Without question though, Clark and the business owners need to work together to come up for a plan on improvements.  We need a greater emphasis on securing grant money to see these improvements through.

4. What other issues do you think are important to the people of Clark? How would you impact them?  

Like every resident I have had the chance to meet during my campaign, I am constantly in awe of the job our police officers do. But, like many of those I have spoken to in the last few months, I am seriously concerned about speeding in Clark and the impact it has on pedestrian safety. Like many others, I have called for a comprehensive traffic study of our roadways to give our police officers the information they need to combat speeding on our roads. Clark is a town people chose to call home because of the quality of life.

The danger posed by speeding is a serious threat to that quality of life and it is far past time that our residents had a mayor and council that treated this issue with the seriousness it deserves.

5. What should people know about you that they might not know already?

 I consider myself a man of integrity who will be guided by one, singular principle; the residents of Clark come first. The opportunity to serve in elected office is a privilege and an honor. The incredible amount of trust placed in our elected officials is not something to be taken for granted. I promise, if I am fortunate enough to be elected, that I will work each and every day to earn that trust and do whatever is in my power to make Clark an even better place to live, work and raise a family.

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