SOMERVILLE, NJ - Former Borough Councilman Jason Kraska has decided he will make another run at being elected to a job he last held three years ago, and he's going to go about it in a way different from previous campaigns - beginning with picking up garbage.
He won't be knocking on doors; he will not host "meet and greets;" he will not be soliciting donations, and he will not attack his opponents.
Instead, he intends to go out into the borough's neighborhoods and clean up garbage and trash, and he's hoping residents will join him. If they want to talk about local issues, all the better.
:"Locally, political parties and affiliations shouldn't matter," Kraska said. "These are our taxes, our parks, our roads; how do we make them better than they were yesterday, that's what matters. I don't believe local politics has anything to do with party issues on the state and national levels."
Kraska sent an e-mail to about 100 people Tuesday to let them know of his intentions.
Here's his message:
"I wanted to be the one to let you know, I have decided to throw my name in the ring for Borough Council this year. I love Somerville, the people, the groups, and the organizations. I love the spirit of Somerville. I strongly believe my passion, desire, drive, and my energetic enthusiasm for helping all succeed will be a benefit to our residents.
"This year will be different as we are living in a world that is quite different today than last year, so why should local elections stay the same?
"For me this is not about Democrat or Republican. This is not about the left or the right or being liberal or being conservative. This is about one thing and one thing only. “What is best for the Borough of Somerville?”
"You will not hear attacks on other candidates. You will not hear political sound bites. You will not hear empty promises. What will you hear? You will hear what I have done, what I want to do, and how we can do it. Straight simple and to the point.
"In past campaigns I have walked the town, knocked on your doors, held meet and greets, all of which I enjoyed, but not this year. This year I am going with an idea I got from the great men and women of “Just Another Day Inc.”
"Each week I will clean a different neighborhood of town, I will post where I will be on Facebook and Instagram. If you want to join me to help clean the town up great. If you want to ask me questions while we pick up trash even better! Regardless if I win or lose, Somerville will be a little bit cleaner.
"In past campaigns we held fundraisers and solicited donations, but not this year! I told you this year is going to be different. This year I ask that anyone who has the means and would have donated to the campaign please donate to one of the many organizations that Somerville has that help our residents directly.
"Below is a list with just a few, but there are many more. Throughout the campaign I will highlight these organizations as they are an integral part of Somerville.
"No Negativity… no fundraising… no tricks. Just trying to do everything I can to make Somerville the place we want our children to grow up in. If you believe in me, if you think I am the guy for the job, I ask you to vote for me during this upcoming election in November for Somerville Borough Council.
"Thank you for taking the time to read this, and I hope to hear from you as well.
"Please donate to one of the following or any one of our other great organizations in Somerville: Somerville Civic League; Empower Somerset; Somerville Rescue Squad; Somerville Fire Department; Somerville Elks; American Legion; Somerset Food Bank; any of our churches."
Kraska will be running along with former police officer Hank Werner, who ran unsuccessfully for the Borough Council in 2018 and again last year.
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, He was appointed to a vacant seat in March, and ran successfully to complete the final two years of that term. As a member of the Borough Council he served 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.
He ran unsuccessfully in 2017 for reelection, and again in 2018 but was defeated both times.
He and Werner will be running against Democratic incumbents Granville Brady and Fred Wied V.
The Primary election will be held July 7.
Werner was a law enforcement officer beginning in March of 1990, first with Raritan Borough, then as a NJ Transit officer, and retired last year from the Bernards Township Police Department after serving on the force since 1994.