SPOTSWOOD, NJ - Four candidates are vying for two seats on the Spotswood Borough Council in the upcoming November election. Incumbent Jose Rivera, Diane Charlesworth, Edward Lesko and Marylin Israel are all seeking a seat in the 2020 election. Israel isn't a stranger to the local campaign trail. The longtime New Jersey resident and active Spotswood community member ran for the borough council two years ago.
"For me it was not a loss, it was a win," Israel said of her finish in the 2018 borough council election. "It was my first time running with no experience and 660 residents voted for me. I was happy and honored to have that. I was so proud of my campaign. It was great and I met wonderful people."
Israel was encouraged to run again by the positive response she received from her fellow residents after the election was over.
"For the love and passion I have for Spotswood, I decided to run again," Israel explained. "I want to bring excitement, joy, positivity, happiness and unity to the community. I want Spotswood to be a town that everyone is talking about. To be known as a town of peace and friendly atmosphere."
"I am seeking office because I enjoy helping people," she continued. "I am truly passionate about issues in my community. I am ready to find solutions and make decisions in the interest of Spotswood. Running for a council seat will give me a chance to be the change and make a difference."
Israel is originally from Haiti and is proud to say that she is a United States citizen. Before moving to Spotswood, she lived in Princeton and East Windsor. She has been a resident of the borough for a decade. One of her two daughters and her family also resides in Spotswood. Israel loves the quiet, walkability of the borough along with the kind and compassionate spirit of fellow residents.
As a single mother, Israel worked two jobs to support her daughters and is extremely proud to share that they both have professional careers. Israel is also a doting grandmother with five grandchildren. Her professional background is in the field of criminal justice. She spent seven years working in the food industry and five working as a medical technician. Eventually she returned to school to complete her degree in her passion; law.
"I graduated from Ashworth University in the top of my class with a Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice and an Associate's Degree in Forensic Science and Security Management," Israel said. "Words could not express how I felt when I walked on stage to get my diploma with honors. It was a precious moment and one of my greatest accomplishments."
Israel retired in order to help her daughter and her grandchildren. Her youngest grandchild was born last year with a birth defect. Israel enjoys spending time with her grandchildren in addition to volunteering in the community. She is a member of the Immaculate Conception Columbiettes, a eucharistic minister and a member of Immaculate's Liturgy Committee. Israel serves on the Board of Trustees at the Spotswood Public Library and is also a member of the Friends of the Spotswood Public Library. She is a member of the Neighborhood Watch and is an active participant in town events like the annual Spotswood 5K. When her grandson was diagnosed with a congenital diaphragmatic hernia, she became active in spreading awareness about the birth defect. She is happy to say that he is now 14-months old and "going strong."
With her professional experience and her extensive education, Israel feels she has a lot to offer the Spotswood Borough Council if elected.
"I learned a lot from the last election," she explained. "The knowledge I gained, I am eager to put to good use. My experience and knowledge with law and business, accounting and retail will be a great asset to the council and a great addition. I will be honored to work with the other council members, which I admire, and the new mayor. I think it will be a dream team."
"The council needs new perspective, new ideas and a new approach," Israel continued. "By attending the council meetings, I observed there is a lack of communication, information and organization. I will be able to change that because the public, our taxpayers, need to know what is going on. I will bring transparency."
"I always worked my way up during me career," Israel added. "When in charge, I take ownership. So, I will treat our small town with grace, integrity and respect. I will never jeopardize trust. Where I come from when you make a promise, that is a debt. I can assure you I will keep that promise always."
Israel feels the important issues currently impacting the borough are reducing property taxes and promoting small business development in town. Her goals if elected are to preserve the town's historic charm and promote Spotswood and its merchants.
"I truly believe I can bring real passion and energy to this role," Israel said if she wins a seat in the upcoming election. "I have a strong desire to help Spotswood families and help our town be a strong community. Spotswood needs a little TLC. I will work closely with the Spotswood PTA, the REC Department, the Office on Aging, the Spotswood Police Department and the Spotswood Library to plan programs for residents. I want to restore my community by bringing positivity, happiness."
"I am not running just because a friend told me to or for the sake of running," Israel continued. "I am not fake. I am real. I am not a politician. I just want what is best for Spotswood. It's really not about putting campaign signs all over town to get recognized or being a longtime resident and talk the talk to convince residents. It's about what is in your heart; your true feelings about the community."
"I am a dedicated resident who is committed to fight for a better community," Israel added. "My only interest is to make our town a wonderful place to live. Most importantly, I promise to work tirelessly to fight for the welfare of Spotswood families."