Five Questions With... Fanwood Council Candidate Erin McElroy-Barker

Erin McElroy-Barker Credits: John Mooney
Fanwood's Democratic Ticket is running unopposed on Election Day: Councilman Jack Molenaar, Mayor Colleen Mahr, Erin McElroy-Barker Credits: Brian Horton
Name: Erin McElroy-Barker
Occupation: Licensed Clinical Social worker  - Working as Center Coordinator at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School Cystic Fibrosis Program
Education: Undergrad – Boston College, Graduate School – Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service
Family: Married to Doug. Children: Connor, Kieran
Years Lived in Fanwood: 12 years

Why are you running for Fanwood Borough Council? 

I have been on the Democratic committee for the last several years and have developed a growing interest in getting involved politically on a more local level. I grew up in a poor community that had few resources and very little to offer the families and children. I have truly loved the experience of community I have had in Fanwood and would like to contribute to keeping this community healthy and growing. I have been offered a chance to have a voice for families with children in this town and I would like to use it to keep Fanwood responsive to the needs of those families. 

What do you believe are the most important issues in Fanwood right now? 

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I know working families are worried about taxes but they are also focused on good quality schools, and the good use of funds to better our community. Many families are concerned about making recycling a priority but also more convenient for working families. I also believe the downtown development and one seat ride can go a long way to making Fanwood a more desirable community for growing families.  It is also important to make sure that residents who are disabled or who have additional needs get appropriate support from the community.   

How do you think your life experience will help you as a Fanwood Borough Councilperson?

I have been a social worker for over 15 years.  I have worked in many communities with various levels of resources. Most of my work has been with children and families either affected by poverty, illness, trauma, etc. My goal as a social worker is to help them to cope, heal, get the resources and support they need to become stronger as individuals, families and communities. I am a believer in systems, family systems, community systems, etc.  I believe we are and should be connected and a good strong community cannot exist when people are suffering or are not being heard. I have learned to be a good listener and a great advocate and I believe these skills will be very important in my role as a councilperson. 

What should people know about you that they might not know already? 

I was born and raised in NJ. I served in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps for a year after college and volunteered in Kenya for 6 months after graduate school working with children with AIDS. 

I moved here from  Montclair and never intended to stay. I was going to go back to Montclair but this town pulled me in and I never left. Now my family won’t even consider moving off my street!

I coordinated a 9/11 recovery program for four years for victims of 9/11 in NYC. I am Irish, Catholic and a liberal democrat -- and proud of all three. I have two dogs and two boys, so my house is full.

What else do you want people to know? 

My intention in running is to help make the process of change easier and to tend to the real life needs of people in this community. I believe the leadership in Fanwood is focused on the same thing, so deciding to join this effort was not a very difficult decision.  

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