Why I am Running for Township Council:
I am running for re-election for the 3rd Ward Piscataway Township Council position because I want to remain part of the team that has been very successful in making great improvements to our community in recent years. We have been named three times (2008, 2010, 2014) by MONEY Magazine as one of the best towns to live in America. I am also running because there are a number of issues and projects that I am passionate about and I want to see them through to the finish.
I have lived in Piscataway for 25 years. I have children in our local public-school system, and I have served as a volunteer firefighter since 9-11. I know this town very well, and I care deeply about our community. I want to continue to make improvements in our town and keep Piscataway a great place to live.
I have been involved with the Piscataway Community Center project since the very beginning. I was part of the initial group that conceived of this project and worked from the beginning to ensure that our town has a first-rate community center. It has been a long process, due to the size of this initiative and because we committed not to build the community center until we had the necessary funding in place. We also needed the Route 18/Hoes Lane extension to be completed by the State before we could build. The State of New Jersey agreed years ago to complete the infrastructure work on the site when they completed the roadway. As a result of our successful lobbying, the State did millions of dollars of infrastructure work for our benefit, including building an access road, drainage and underground utilities.
I am very excited that we have reached lift-off on this project. Many of you have seen the Township’s website or Facebook page of drawings and plans for this Community Center. We believe the Community Center will greatly enhance the cultural and recreational life of our community and help bring our town together. The Community Center will have something for everyone: young people, our high school athletic teams, our seniors and our families. The Community Center includes not just recreational opportunities, but educational, cultural and art programs. We have also included a full teaching kitchen so that we can offer culinary arts classes. This is truly an exciting project and I want to remain on the town council to help guide the project to completion.
I have also been working on banning heavy truck traffic from River Road. Several years ago, we met with the State Department of Transportation on this issue. They agreed that they would sign off on this after the Route 18 extension was completed. Now that the extension is completed, I am pushing forward on this project. The town commissioned and completed a traffic study supporting this project. I have been personally lobbying the County Freeholders and the County Engineer to approve this project. I am proud to report that we recently met with the Acting Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Transportation on this issue. I explained to the Commissioner how important this issue is to our town. I am seeking re-election as the Third Ward Councilman so I can stay on top of this issue and see it to the finish line. If I am re-elected, I will continue to lead the fight to ban heavy truck traffic from River Road.
I am very proud of the economic development we have done in this community. After the national economy crashed in 2008, Piscataway lost many tax ratables and thousands of job opportunities for our residents. We have been working diligently to recreate Piscataway as a place where companies want to do business. As a result of this economic development, we have brought over 1,000 new job opportunities to Piscataway. We have also brought in important tax ratables which have resulted in an historic 12% drop in Piscataway’s tax rate. We reversed the economic downturn, and corporations are paying their share of property taxes. This allows us to provide better services like enhanced police protection, road maintenance, snow removal, and recreational opportunities at a lower cost.
I am also very proud of our recreational opportunities in Piscataway. When I was first elected to the town council, the parks in our town were in desperate need of improvement. In the past ten years, we have significantly upgraded all our 26 township parks. We are currently making additional improvements on several parks in the 3rd Ward, including Possumtown Park, Wynnewood Park, Tara Park and Perrine Park. Both Riverside Park and Possumtown Park have been completely redone, and now are excellent examples of what a park can mean to a community. As a result of our efforts in Parks and Recreation, Piscataway was named by Sports Illustrated as a Sports Town USA. We were the only town in New Jersey to receive such designation.
As a citizen, I am deeply concerned about our environment. We were able to secure a federal grant and, working with my colleagues, to install solar power to some of our municipal facilities. We recently have committed to the U.S. Conference of Mayors Initiative to be fossil fuel independent by 2035. We will be conducting a full review of Piscataway’s use of energy and complete an environmental master plan to guide the Township through the next several decades and to ensure that we meet this important environmental objective.
I also work closely with the police department on public safety. Piscataway has also been named as one of the safest communities to live in New Jersey. I will continue to ensure that Piscataway remains a safe place to raise our families. Just recently I drafted, and the Town Council just passed, the most comprehensive and progressive piece of local legislation on gun safety in New Jersey. By prohibiting gun sales within 1000 feet of our schools, parks, township facilities and houses of worship, we hope to lead by example and continue to promote public safety. I want to continue to lead on this important issue.
Most importantly, the job of a local Councilperson is to be responsive to the needs of their constituents. I have tried in my time on the Town Council to be available and responsive to the needs of the residents. When the residents on Fountain Avenue needed assistance in fighting off a major corporation that wanted to cut down the shade trees along the street, I personally stepped in and was successful in that fight to protect the community and the environment. When we needed a traffic light on First Avenue and Possumtown Road, I worked hard to see it was installed. Now that the Township is seeking to ban heavy truck traffic on River Road, I personally went to Trenton and met with the head of the State Department of Transportation on behalf of our residents. As a captain in the United States Marine Corps, I learn the importance of leadership. If I am honored with the opportunity to continue to serve the community, I will continue to lead and be responsive to the needs of our local constituents. That is my number one goal.
My Goals as Your Councilman
- Eliminate truck traffic from River Road.
- Maintain sound financial management.
- Provide the best public safety protection for our residents.
- Protect our environment and preserve open space.
- Explore Green and sustainable initiatives including solar power.
- Improve road networks and traffic conditions.
- Provide the highest standards of municipal services at the least possible cost.
- Continue to develop innovative ways to operate municipal government more efficiently through shared service agreements and public-private partnerships.
- Continue to hold the line on Township spending and create a more efficient government.
- Continue to work toward completing construction of the Piscataway Community Center.
- Continue to be responsive to residents’ concerns.
About the Candidate
I grew up in Edison New Jersey and went to public schools, graduating from JP Stevens in 1979. My Mom was a school teacher in Edison. I graduated from Rutgers University here in Piscataway in 1983. I have lived in Piscataway since 1993. In the 25 years I have lived in Piscataway I have been involved in numerous community activities.
After I graduated from Rutgers I joined the United States Marine Corps. I also enrolled in law school graduating from Widener University in 1986. I served in the Marine Corps for 8 years. In 1988 as a Marine Corps captain I was deployed with NATO in Europe. My time in the Marine Corps taught me a great deal about leadership, organization, loyalty, and how to get the job done. I reached the rank of Captain in the United States Marine Corps. In 1990 I was awarded the Navy Achievement Medal.
Since moving to Piscataway, I have been involved in little league and soccer, serving on the Board of the Soccer Club, and coaching both Soccer and Little League. My wife has been coaching soccer in town for the last 8 years. After 911 I decided to become a volunteer fire fighter. I graduated from the Middlesex County Fire Academy in 2002 and have proudly been a volunteer with Possumtown Fire Company.
I have served on the Piscataway Township Council since 2001. I have had the opportunity to serve as Council President on three occasions, 2003, 2004 and 2012 and Council Vice President in 2002 and 2010. I have served for many years at the Chairman of the Finance Committee. I also Chair the Open Space Advisory Committee and have worked closely with my colleagues on acquiring additional open space and improving our parks and recreational opportunities. I previously served on the Piscataway Environmental Advisory Committee, The Parkside Academic Achieve Foundation and was appointed by Governor Corzine to the Council on Sports and Physical Fitness. In 2014 I was inducted into the J.P. Stevens High School Hall of Honor based on my commitment to public service.
I am proud to have been part of a great team as a member of the Township Council, and to have had the honor of serving on this Board with Rev. Kenneth Saunders, Freeholder Kenneth Armwood, and our current Sheriff Millie Scott. As a result of a great team effort over the years Piscataway has received significant recognition including having been named three times by Money Magazine as one of the best towns’s to live in the United States. Piscataway was recognized by Sports Illustrated Magazine as a Sports Town USA due to our nationally recognized parks and recreation programs. We have also been recognized as one of the safest communities in New Jersey.