CRANFORD - With two spots on the ballot this year for the Cranford Township Committee, Mary O'Connor and Philip Siliato will the Republican nominees.
Elected to the Township Committee in 2013, O'Connor will be seeking her third term while Siliato is a newcomer looking to flip Deputy Mayor Ann Dooley's seat. Dooley is not seeking reelection.
The Cranford Republican Committee hosted a petition signing party at the Cranford Hotel for O'Connor and Siliato. Siliato was unable to attend due to recovering from a recent surgery, but O'Connor and Assemblyman Jon Bramnick gave speeches to rally around their party's nominees.
"Jumping in again was a big decision, but with the support of everybody in this room, I'm looking forward to a really good, strong campaign for Phil and I," said O'Connor. "It's going to be a tough race, so we need your help all of the way to the finish line. We need you to help spread the word."
O'Connor spoke of a recent experience she had while attending a wedding in California that hit home with her on what's been going on in Cranford lately.
"I went to Marina del Rey with my sister for a couple of days. I use to work in Marina del Rey back in the late 80s and driving up to and driving through Marina del Rey, I didn't recognize the place I worked. Is it still pretty? Yes, it's right by the water, but something significant had changed, and what it made me think about was, in 20 years, when I drive through Cranford, I do not want to have that feeling. I do not want to say I don't recognize this place anymore. And that's made me realize, yes, I'm glad I'm running, because I think we have a unique identity. It's why we come here, why we stay here, why people like me come back here, and we need to keep that identity. Progress is inevitable and it's important, but it has to be controlled by us and not lose our way," said O'Connor.
Though Siliato wasn't able to attend, Chairman of the Cranford Republican Municipal Committee and former Cranford Mayor Andis Kalnins spoke on the selection of Siliato.
"He's been here for over 20 years and he's been involved in the community for so long," said Kalnins of Siliato. "He was President of the Cranford Jaycees and has always been giving back to the community."
EDITOR'S NOTE: TAPinto Cranford does not endorse any candidates of any election locally or nationally.