Government

East Brunswick: Jim Wendell Joins the Democratic Party in Move that Overturns Town Council Majority

ad159f2448a7f8e0826e_DSCN2590.jpg
The Wendell Family - Matt, Barbara, Jim, and Jim Jr. Credits: TAPinto East Brunswick
abc611df5351d1d901d6_DSCN2586.jpg
Local Democrats and their families come out to support Jim Wendell and Mark Csizmar Credits: TAPinto East Brunswick
fc97659388d737b98526_DSCN2588.jpg
Elected officials Diegnan, Cohen, Tamaro, Kenny, Stanley Koppel, Pinkin, Karabinchak and Wendell in East Brunswick today. Credits: TAPinto East Brunswick
ad159f2448a7f8e0826e_DSCN2590.jpg

EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ -  Despite their opposing tickets in last November's mayoral elections, Councilman Jim Wendell and  Mayor Brad Cohen share the same vision for the redevelopment of the township and the desire to move East Brunswick forward.  Tonight they became members of the same team.

Council Vice-President James Wendell, the 2016 Republican candidate for mayor and a lifelong member of the GOP, announced today that he is joining the Democratic Party.

 “After long consideration, I have determined that my efforts to move our town forward would be better served by working in tandem with Mayor Brad Cohen, who has worked since his inauguration side by side with me, to improve the quality of life for East Brunswick’s families,” said Councilman Wendell.  “At a time when partisanship is at an all-time high, Mayor Cohen and I are committed to serving as an example of what is possible when former opponents join together for the betterment of our community. I plan to continue my working relationship with Councilwoman Clark and Councilman Hughes.  As a lifelong resident of East Brunswick, my decisions have always been based upon what is best for our town and not based on political considerations."

Sign Up for E-News

  Wendell also used the opportunity to endorse the Democratic candidates running for Middlesex County Surrogate and the Board of Chosen Freeholders, as well as State Senator Patrick Diegnan and Democratic Assembly members Nancy Pinkin and Robert Karabinchak in the 18th Legislative District. 

  “It is clear to me that Senator Diegnan, Assemblywoman Pinkin and Assemblyman Karabinchak have worked diligently to stand up for the residents of our district against the ruinous policies of Governor Christie,” said Wendell.  “I have worked with them during my time on the council in East Brunswick and know that they are best positioned to bring good jobs and economic development back to East Brunswick.”

 With Wendell’s decision to switch parties, Democrats will now control both the mayor’s office and the majority on the township’s council.

At an event held by local Chairperson of the East Brunswick Democratic Organization attorney David Lonski, local elected officials and party supporters met to celebrate Wendell's move to the blue team.  "What I do is about East Brunswick," said the Councilman. "Brad and I are going to do some wonderful things.  When we debated during the elections, we were saying the same thing in different ways."

Democratic Committee Member Jeaninne Lonski mentioned her long friendship with Wendell and her growing respect for him during the planning board negotiations that may have placed hundreds of apartment units on Cranbury Road, the site of the revitalized Park Chateau.  "I am glad to see people working together for the good of East Brunswick.  There is too much divisiveness in politics today at every level," she said.

Wendell noted that making the change was not an easy decision and the switch involved making some "difficult" phone calls.  What ultimately caused him to make the change, though, was the fact that "We are all fiscally conservative, and we have the same vision."  He also realized the importance of having an organization behind a candidate to drive success, something he did not feel as a Republican in Middlesex County.

Councilwoman Camille Clark, who represents the Republican party along with Council President Michael Hughes commented, "I wish Jim the best in his endeavors to do what he feels is best for his constituents and for himself. It is unfortunate that he feels he cannot accomplish this as a Republican, working alongside the Democrats, but rather feels motivated to join Democratic ranks. That said, I am confident that we will continue to maintain a cordial working relationship."

Joining Wendell in in switch of allegiance was former East Brunswick Law Enforcement Officer Mark Csizmar, who also ran for town council as a Republican last year.  "I am not a Democrat or a Republican.  I am an EB guy," said the former DARE officer and PBA negotiator.

State Senator Patrick Diegnan also celebrated the new Democrats: "I have trouble watching television today.  There is so much political conflict.  We all really have so much more in common than you would think.  A day like this charges my batteries."

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

East Brunswick

New Jersey Launches NJ ABLE to Help Individuals with Disabilities Save for Expenses

June 24, 2018

TRENTON, NJ – New Jersey Human Services Commissioner Carole Johnson on Monday announced the launch of a major new program to help individuals with disabilities become more independent and better thrive in their communities.  

With the newly launched NJ ABLE program, individuals with disabilities can save tax-free for eligible expenses such as education, housing and ...

East Brunswick Public Library Hosts “Beginner Coder” Program Series for Adults

EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - Due to popular demand, East Brunswick Public Library (2 Jean Walling Civic Center) is offering “Beginner Coder for Adults,” a program series to teach the basics of computer coding for the internet this July.

Led by guest lecturer Preeti Gupta, the classes focus on teaching basic web technologies including HTML, CSS and JavaScript. After completing this ...

EBPL Open on Summer Sundays

EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ—Due to an increase in demand of library usage, East Brunswick Public Library (2 Jean Walling Civic Center Drive) is extending Sunday hours throughout July.

The library plans on using the additional hours to host more library programming and provide services to the community, including passports, access to the computer lab and EB Create makerspace, and ...

'Half Time' delivers with sterling cast

MILLBURN, NJ – The Paper Mill Playhouse is putting on a smashing new production of “Half Time” to round out its current season.

With actress Georgia Engel in an engaging performance, the cast also features Donna McKehnie, Andre De Shieilds and Lilias White, among a host of other talents.

The musical centers on an effort to have seniors perform a dance number during ...

'Half Time' lights up Paper Mill stage

‘Half Time’ turns the tables on aging in gleeful production

By Liz Keill

MILLBURN, NJ – The Paper Mill Playhouse is putting on a smashing new production of “Half Time” to round out its current season.

With actress Georgia Engel in an engaging performance, the cast also features Donna McKehnie, Andre De Shieilds and Lilias White, among a host of other ...

Cool Ways to Save Money This Summer

As the summer temperatures rise, home cooling costs rise as well. But there are ways to help save money without sweating the heat:

To increase your cooling system’s efficiency by as much as 20%, get it checked out for summer.  A technician will clean the condenser, make sure you have the optimal amount of refrigerant, and ensure the airflow over the coil is ...