CRANFORD, NJ – TAPintoCranford has contacted the candidates for Cranford Township Committee and given each of them the opportunity to be profiled, in advance of Election Day. Our "Five Questions with..." series is a platform for candidates of both parties to express their views.

Name:  Barbara Bilger

Family:  Husband – Nelson (passed away 2011)

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                 Daughter – Tracy 

Current Occupation:       Administrative Assistant in Facilities Management at Merck in Rahway

1. Why are you running for township committee and what would you bring to the committee?

My reasons for becoming involved in our own were always the same – to get things accomplished and to make Cranford a better place in which to live.

We only have to look around to see all the good things going on in Cranford.  I want to continue the progress that is being made.  Cranford is at a critical point and the people Michael and I have spoken with are very pleased with what they see happening in Cranford.  All the changes being made are good not only for our property values, but for our local businesses.

Many new people have moved into our beautiful community and they advised Michael and me that they had researched our town and they moved here for the quality of life that we have to offer, for our excellent school system, and they mentioned that they loved our downtown area.

2. What do you believe are the most important issues in Cranford that need to be addressed and what will you do to achieve change?

It was very evident as my running mate Michael Petrucci and I walked from door-to-door meeting our residents that the most important issues facing the town are taxes, flood control, development and parking.

Finally, instead of getting talked about, things are getting accomplished.  Our roads had been neglected for over twenty years and we now see progress being made.  There has been close to 10 miles of roads in Cranford that were repaved in the past two years, since the change in leadership on the Township Committee.  Much needed flood projects that had been ignored by previous administrations are back on the drawing board.   In 2014 the Township Committee has gone from having an in-house engineering staff to using an outside firm to oversee the engineering projects in town.  The difference has been remarkable.   I can see all the good things that are happening in Cranford and I would like to be part of the team that continues the progress being made.

Many of our senior citizens have voiced their concerns regarding taxes in Cranford.  They fear that after living here for many years they will not be able to continue to stay here if the taxes keep rising.  After forty-eight years of marriage my husband Nelson passed away four years ago and many things have changed.  I too, worry about rising taxes and I totally understand their concern.  I want to be their voice and be part of the solution, so that they can afford to continue living here. 

3. What experiences qualify you for this position?

The experience I bring from two previous terms, including two years as Mayor and as Deputy Mayor is invaluable.  Many of the issues we are looking at today are the same as twenty years ago - - taxes, flooding, improvements to our infrastructure.  The current Township Committee has made remarkable strides in addressing these and many other issues and I would like to be part of their team to continue the progress in the future.  As a member of the Township Committee, I feel I will be in a position to better serve the residents of Cranford.

Those of you who know me, know my track record.  Whenever I elect to take on a job, I follow it through to the end.  As with everything I do, I have a willingness to put Cranford ahead of politics.

4. What does Cranford mean to you?

Cranford has been my home for 46 years.  I have raised a family and made lasting friendships.

Giving back to my community has always been very important to me.  I have been proud to serve my community volunteering for the many different events and organizations that I am involved with. There is always room for improvement and while on the Township committee and even after leaving office, I never stopped volunteering my time, to help make Cranford a better community for everyone.

5. Tell us something about yourself (something beyond the political realm)

I moved to Cranford 46 years ago from Newark with my husband Nelson and my daughter Tracy.  As long as I’ve lived in Cranford, I’ve been a community volunteer.  I immediately became active at St. Michael Church, volunteering for many of their fundraising and Capital campaigns.  I was asked to serve on the Recreation and Advisory Board and from there became involved in many other organizations in own town.  For the past thirty plus years I have been a Director on the Chamber of Commerce Board, serving as their Treasurer for six years and currently serving as Executive Secretary.    I worked on the Fourth of July events, Halloween Committee, Memorial Day Parade of which I was chairman for 5 years, and the last two years I have served as the Master of Ceremonies, just to name a very few.  I served as a member of the Cranford Senior Housing Board for approximately 25 years and have been the Board President for the last six years.  I am an active Life Member of the VFW Ladies Auxiliary, and serve on the boards of Cranford Cares for Kids, and have been Treasurer of Raphael’s Life House for the last ten years.  While serving as Mayor, I was instrumental in the creation of the 911 Memorial Park, procuring the site and appointing a committee to raise the funds needed to build the beautiful memorial which is located across the street from the Municipal Building to honor the six residents that were taken from us on a day that we will never forget.  Over the years, I have helped the Cranford Police Department with many of the fundraising events they have held.  I was very honored when they presented me with a Silver Card, which is the highest award a civilian can receive from the police.

Cranford is a wonderful town in which to live and raise a family.  I have loved Cranford since the day I moved here in August of 1969.  I want to make sure we continue to move in the right direction, and I ask for your support.  Please vote Column “A” on November 3rd.