Political Opinion from a Red Bank Democrat

#RedBankNJ Our Democratic Council President Hazim Yassin and Councilwoman Kate Triggiano are running for their 2nd term. I believe they have easily earned re-election. This post reflects my opinions and understanding of the facts. Being a Red Bank Democrat is complicated this year.

Have Triggiano and Yassin served honorably? Yes.

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Were they supported by Red Bank Democrats when sworn in two and half years ago? Yes.

This year these incumbents bypassed the Red Bank Democratic Chairman, to get a fair shake (I agree with their decision). Now four candidates – vying for 2 spots on the Democratic line - will face off in a primary election in June, where all Red Bank registered Democrats will vote for 2 of the 4.

Kate and Hazim have brought energy, ideas and most of all, a deep personal commitment to our town. I’ve watched them in action. It‘s great having a new and younger perspective added to our Municipal Council. They are bold. They have courage. I am ok with all of this.

I have direct experience working with Council President Hazim Yassin over the past three years. He has a special gift for bringing people together. He focuses on the nuts-and-bolts of relationship building. He is a good listener. Follows up. A fast learner. Is an active member of the of the Red Bank Education Foundation. Passionate about our downtown, serves as the Red Bank RiverCenter representative from the council. Connects exceptionally well with the business community. He is a financial advisor. And he is all over Red Bank. I love his passion and humor.

Councilwoman Kate Triggiano thinks strategically (big & small picture) and has great attention to detail. She gets the job done. She also has a background in small business, is an accomplished community organizer, a fighter for what is right and a mom and a big supported of our public schools. She does not have patience for BS. She has never missed a council meeting. Kate is currently attending the Middletown Fire Academy and on track to become a volunteer Red Bank firefighter.

One of the things I admire the most, is whether you are rich or poor, political party or another, if you call Red Bank your home, you get a fair shake from both of them. They are decent people, and Red Bank comes first with Kate and Hazim.

Do I agree with them on everything? No. And that’s a good thing. Do they make mistakes, absolutely.

In 20 minutes I compiled the following list list of Kate and Hazim’s accomplishments (I am sure there is more):

  • Supported annual street, sidewalk upkeep and repairs; with the goal of keeping on top of maintenance, to prevent falling behind which has happened in the past.
  • Fought for the purchase of 2 much-needed fire engines at a great price
  • Opened the popular - and much needed - Bell Haven waterfront Park/playground on Locust Ave.
  • Opened the new emergency access road/water infrastructure improvement to the Red Bank Primary School.
  • Took first steps to achieving 100 percent renewable energy (burn less fossil fuels), by buying bulk green power at a cheaper cost to the town.
  • Secured Covid 19 vaccine distribution at the Senior Citizen program
  • Improved street to street snowplow notifications
  • Created Broad Street pedestrian plaza, saving many taxpaying businesses and in my opinion greatly improving the downtown.
  • Developed “Home Blue Angel Lock box” program for residents 55 and over who live alone allowing police access in a medical emergency.
  • Supported the creation of the Red Bank Redevelopment Agency to provide sound advice on fixing the dismal state of our municipal facilities (Town Hall, Department of Public Works, Senior Center)
  • Advanced temporary Pedestrian Safety demonstration project at Dr James Parker Blvd that will be permanent in the future.
  • Established a Volunteer Translator Program to aid the police department and borough employees.
  • Passed an ordinance to ban single use plastic bags to reduce stormwater pollution.

Senior Center:

Lot of questions have been raised about the Senior Center. How did this happen in the first place? Kate and Hazim had only been on the Council for two months when the pipe burst in 2019.

Kate and Hazim have listened. They support either repairing or replacing it. Building it back better. They are totally committed to our Senior Citizen program. They worked to add the Covid 19 vaccination program. They made it clear that the riverfront location of the Senior Citizen Center can only be used in a way that benefits the public (never to be sold to developers). In the mean time, the Council has secured a temporary location for the critical senior programming. The Red Bank Redevelopment Agency is currently reviewing all town facilities - which everyone agrees are in great need of attention - so Mayor and Council can consider the whole picture.

When the pipe burst at the Senior Center two years ago, a wide range of repair needs and defects were discovered. The facility was uninhabitable. The bids-exceeded the approved specs. In my heart, I believe, the center will be fixed and/or improved. Am I mad our council-members just don’t drop everything and pander to those of us who have signed the “Fix It Now Petition” ? I view Kate & Hazim’s commitment to consider all options as a strength. We are a small town with limited land and financial resources. They have stood up to a lot of pressure on this issue at a high political cost, to make sure that in the end, the best decision is made. I think having some grit is a good thing.

This is why I support both Kate Triggiano and Hazim Yassin for a 2nd term.

Photo: November 2018, celebrating during election night at Red Bank Democratic Headquaters. From left, Kate Triggiano, Mayor Pat Menna, Governor Phil Murphy, Hazim Yassin and Red Bank Democratic Chairman Ed Zipprich. Ben Forest photo