Government

5 Questions with Fanwood Councilwoman Kathy Mitchell

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Kathy Mitchell is Fanwood's longest serving Council member. Credits: Brian Horton
bb174f7360dc1bd0af8d_Kathy_Mitchell_portrait_-_Brian_Horton.jpg

As Election Day approaches, TAP into Scotch Plains-Fanwood continues its discussions with the candidates who will be running for office. The "5 Questions with ..." today features responses from Fanwood Council candidate Kathy Mitchell.

1. Why are you running for Town Council again?

I am running for an unprecedented seventh term for Fanwood Council because I love and care about Fanwood.I have been and am committed to a better quality of live for all our residents.I am proud to be part of Mayor Mahr's team and the many of the committed volunteers who have helped realize this goal. I strongly believe in giving back, and this is what I have tried to do.

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2. What do you believe are the most important issues in Fanwood this year?

I feel the most important issues of the past year have been a slightly lower municipal tax rate, since Fanwood took a big hit with the school tax. And of course, curbside recycling, which was a very emotional and at times a contentious issue which necessitated many meetings and time commitment.We have received our blue containers and curbside will begin on 10-6-17.

3. What are your thoughts on the Presidential election?

Growing up in the late “60s and early “70’s was a very bitter and hateful time -- Vietnam War, civil rights unrest, Kent State among a few. The political rhetoric of bigotry and intolerance against women, immigrants, service members, people with disabilities or anybody who is different reminds me of that hateful and divisive time. It saddens me to see that we have, once again, devolved into this much hatred. What does this say about us as a society? A society that we maintain is better than the rest of the world.? Or are we!!

4. What other issues are important?

Other important issues are keeping our municipal tax rate flat without compromising any of our municipal services to which we have become accustomed, an Open Space tax that would be dedicated to Historic Preservation, the care of our Nature Center and recreation. It is estimated it will be about $8-11 per house hold depending on assessed value. This will be on a referendum in November for residents to vote on.

The library will be our next challenge for the upcoming year. Do we expand the Library, as proposed, to meet the expanding needs of our community? These include expanding technology and programming space, and providing a Tween section, which is currently nonexistent.There is so much more a modern library can provide -- do we just do the necessary improvements to become ADA compliant and fix existing conditions?

In these times of terrorism, I feel it is important that we make sure our police, fire, and rescue squads all have the necessary tools, education and equipment to keep us all safe. These are the big challenges and responsibilities for 2017.

5. Tell us about your professional career

I am a retired Registered Nurse. My last jobs were as a Visiting Nurse and an MDS coordinator at Runnells Specialized Hospital. As an MDS coordinator, I was responsible for all the assessments for Medicare reimbursement. This required much organization, medical knowledge and patient/family interaction. If I had to do it all over again, I would still be a nurse in some capacity.

For the past 25 years, I have been the Social Concerns coordinator at IHM church. We have just reinstituted our Sheltering the Homeless program, whereby, homeless families spend 2-3 weeks a year at our parish.We feed our guests, breakfast and dinner and provide lunch.Our guests sleep at IHM and we provide a dry, safe environment for parents and children. We also have a Christmas giving tree which provides almost 1,000 gifts for local charities.Our Thanksgiving food collection provides many meals which also go into the community. My goal for the next year is to establish a “helping hands” program which will help both parishioners and reach into the community to help those in need.

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