SOMERVILLE, NJ – Veteran Republican candidates Jason Kraska and Hank Werner will try once again to loosen the grip of the Democrats on Borough Council in the Nov. 3 election
Democrats hold all six seats on the Borough Council; Mayor Dennis Sullivan is also a Democrat.
Kraska, a former councilman who served under former Republican mayor Brian Gallagher, and Werner, a retired police officer, are challenging Democratic incumbents Granville Brady and Fred J. Wied. The 2020 election marks Kraska's second attempt at regaining his seat on the Borough Council, having run in 2018. Kraska was the last Republican to serve on the Borough Council.
It is also Werner's second effort at being elected, having run with Kraska in 2018 and again in 2019 with two other candidates..
Kraska is a lifelong Somerville resident and graduate of Somerville High School and Lock Haven University. He was a member of Somerville Borough Council from March of 2015 through December of 2017, serving as Police Commissioner, Recreation liaison, and Youth Services liaison. He is responsible for obtaining the grant used to restore Southside Park. He continues to serve the Borough as a member of the Recreation Commission.
Werner is a retired police officer, having first served with Raritan Borough, then as a NJ Transit officer, and beginning in 1994, as member of the Bernards Township Police Department, teaching Law Enforcement Against Drugs (LEAD) in the middle school. He is now director of school safety and security for Bernards Township. Werner also served on the borough's Traffic & Safety Committee and is the chairman of the Jack's Kids, a 28-year-old non-profit organization that raises money for the families of seriously-ill children in Somerset County.
Wied V is chair of the Public Property Department and vice-chair of the Department of Public Works and serves as council liaison for the Municipal Alliance Committee, Youth Services Commission, Complete Streets, VilleTV, and the Library Board of Trustees. He is a 3rd generation Somerville resident and graduated from Somerville High School.
He is the director of Constituent Services for state Assemblyman Joe Danielsen, D-17th; the district covers portions of Somerset and Middlesex counties. He first ran for Borough Council in 2015, ;losing by a narrow margin of 18 votes; he ran successfully again in 2017.
Brady is the Finance chair and Personnel vice-chair and serves as council liaison for the Recycling, Emergency Management, Redevelopment and Fire Museum Committees. Brady is an audiologist with a practice in East Brunswick. He and his wife Carol have lived in Somerville for over 35 years.
He served on the Borough Council from 1995-97, and ran again successfully in 2015. He served as Borough Council president in 2019.
The Borough of Somerville is governed by six council members who are elected for staggered three-year terms with two council members elected each year. Each council member is appointed by the mayor to two of six standing committees. There are also additional liaison assignments for other committees and commissions.
Voters will also have an opportunity to elect three members of the Board of Education. There are three candidates, all incumbents, running unopposed for three-year terms.
The candidates are Derek Jess, current school board president; Denise Van Horn and Candace Matthews.