MONTVILLE, NJ – Township voters will have three contenders for two spots on the dais in June and November, as two incumbents and a new Dem have thrown their hat in for Montville Township Committee seats.

Two spots are available as Republican incumbents Mayor Richard Conklin and Member Richard Cook’s terms expire. Conklin and Cook are running again and Democrat newcomer Venancio Fuentes is also vying for a position.

Here is some biographical information on the three candidates, in alphabetical order.

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Richard Cook (R):

Richard Cook was born and raised in Montville Township. He attended Montville Township High School and graduated class of 1981. He graduated from County College of Morris (CCM) with an Associate degree in criminal justice. He is also a graduate of the West Point Command and Leadership School. He was a member of the Montville Township Police Department for 31 years, having retired in 2014. Cook served in all aspects of the police department to include; Juvenile Officer, Traffic Bureau Commander, Detective Bureau Commander and Operations Commander. He served as the department’s Police Chief for 10 years and is an exempt member of the Montville Township Fire Department.

Cook also served on the Board of Directors of the Montville First Aid Squad and was a liaison to the Drug Awareness Council. He was a Little League coach, a member of the Morris County Police Chiefs Association and received the Montville Townships Chamber of Commerce Public Service award in 2013.  He is also a current member of the Montville Township Planning Board and the Historic Preservation Review Commission. In 2016, he ran for Township Committee and was elected to office. He is now a sitting councilman and works full-time as a Director at the Morris County Sherriff’s Department.

The Cook family comes from a long line of public service that has been dedicated to Montville Township for well over 250 years. His family settled in the Montville area in 1740 and has remained here ever since.

Richard Conklin (R):

Richard Conklin is a lifelong resident of Towaco, with family roots several generations deep. He has been married to his wife Rose for 43 years and has two children and three grandchildren.

He has a degree in business from CCM, and a Certificate in Construction Management from Rutgers. He completed his career in the construction industry as a Senior Associate, Senior Projects manager for a prominent international construction management firm.

Conklin served approximately 12 years with the Towaco Volunteer Fire Department and was elected and served four terms as Fire Commissioner for fire district #2, Towaco.

He was elected to the Montville Township Charter Study Commission in 2005 and served for the one year of its existence.

Conklin served on the Environmental Commission, Open Space Committee (chair 2 years), Planning Board, and currently serves as Montville Township’s mayor.

He is a proud member of the following organizations: Saint Pius X Church, Knights of Columbus, Towaco Civic Association (charter member), Montville Twp. and Morris County Historical Societies, Republican Club, National Society Sons of the American Revolution, and various professional organizations.

Venancio Fuentes (D):

Fuentes was born in Cuba and came to the United States when he was three years old. He is happily married, and is the father of two boys. He and his family have been in Pine Brook for six years, and moved from Denville where they lived for 28 years.

Fuentes grew up in Queens, NY, and attended Aviation High School. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in engineering from Stony Brook University and his Master’s degree in electrical engineering from Stevens Institute of Technology. Fuentes worked for Sperry Electronics Systems on the design of navigation systems for the Navy and at Kearfott Guidance and Navigation where he worked on the design of the space shuttle’s navigation system. While working at Kearfott, Fuentes began teaching at CCM as an adjunct professor, and decided he wanted to become a full-time professor.

Fuentes is the Department Head for the Engineering and Criminal Justice Program at CCM. He has been there over 25 years, and has the rank of Full Professor.

In 2016, Fuentes was elevated to the position of Senior Member of IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers), a distinction awarded to only 9 percent of the institute’s members. He also is a commissioner with the Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission (ETAC) for ABET, serving as a lead evaluator of engineering programs accredited by ETAC of ABET.

Fuentes volunteered for 15 years as an EMT on the Morris Minute Men first aid squad. He is now a Past Active Member.

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