NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - As the election results come in throughout the country, many people are sitting on the edge of their seats waiting to hear who will be our next President. However, in New Providence, unofficially, incumbent Alan Lesnewich and newcomer Gary Kapner were elected to the Borough Council by a wide margin, and Adam Smith, William Dibble and Robert Dinerman ran unopposed for the Board of Education.
Gary Kapner, who is the Vice President of Creative Wallcoverings and Interiors, was running for political office for the first time. As a resident of New Providence for over 20 years, he loves his town, he said. He has served on the Planning Board and said it’s been interesting to learn how to balance a community’s needs with those of property owners.
He has been active in the community for about a decade and has been a major player in the Downtown Improvement District. He also was the founder of the New Providence Business Professional Association, was the President of the organization and is still a board member.
“I’m excited. It’s the first time I’ve run for elected office,” Kapner said.
He said he feels good about winning and is looking forward to working with his fellow councilmen. After the the disaster that Hurricane Sandy caused, Kapner said one of his goals is to find out why JCP&L is taking so long to restore power to homes in the New Providence.
“There should be better ways to prevent this or get it back running quicker,” he said. “There’s always something that can be done to make it better. It seems like they just patch it.”
As a lifelong resident of New Providence, Lesnewich said there is nowhere else he would rather live. While he only got involved with council two years ago, he has been immersed in the community for a long time. Lesnewich is an elder at the Presbyterian Church, teaches bible class, and coached PAL baseball, basketball and hockey.
One of his goals is to continue improving the athletic fields in the community. He helped form a Capital Improvement Committee and also wants to fix the parks in town, as well.
One person who knows both men quite well is Council President Michael Gennaro. Gennaro said Kapner and Lesnewich are both extremely qualified and he looks forward to working with them.
“We have two very good candidates running,” he said.
Gennaro said some of the council’s goals are auctioning off the new liquor license in January, improving the downtown, attracting new businesses and creating more parking.
After serving 12 years on the Board of Education, Nancy Opperthauser decided it was time to step down. Opperthauser, who grew up in the community, said she treasures her time on the Board and it was very rewarding giving back to the district.
“I’m very proud of our district,” she said.
Her replacement is newcomer, Robert Dinerman, who has known Opperthauser for 25 years. He said it’s going to be tough to fill her shoes, but he is up for the challenge.
He said he ran because he wants to give back to the community and maintain the quality of excellence in the district. One of his goals is to start an alumni association, which he feels will greatly benefit the town.
“I’m excited and I’m nervous,” he said.