SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - A lifelong resident of South Plainfield and former member of the borough’s council, Christine Buteas is running for mayor on the Democratic ticket.
Buteas was elected to a three-year term on the South Plainfield Borough Council in 2008 when her and fellow Democratic running mate Franky Salerno defeated incumbent Republicans Matthew Anesh and Robert Bengivenga for two council seats. In 2011, she sought re-election to a second term with running mate John Sorrentino; both Democrats lost to Alex Barletta and Derryck White, the two Republican incumbents seeking re-election to the South Plainfield Borough Council this year. On a local front she also served on the Board of Adjustment, Recreation Commission, Health Advisory Board and Public Celebrations Committee.
With a master’s degree in public administration, Buteas is currently employed with the non-profit Home Care Association of New Jersey. Additionally, she volunteers on several non-profit boards, including the Suburban Women's Club of South Plainfield, the Women’s Political Caucus of New Jersey, New Leaders Council and Rowan University’s Alumni Board and Athletic Advisory Committee.
If elected mayor, Buteas said the top items on her ‘to do’ list include “curing South Plainfield’s spreading traffic plaque; creating dynamic partnerships between the borough, neighborhoods, and police force to enable more effective deterrents to crime; and putting South Plainfield’s fiscal house back in order by forcing borough government to live with its means and putting an end to borrowing and raiding our surplus accounts to balance the budget.”
The candidate feels the biggest challenge to South Plainfield today is traffic. “[It] threatens to close off our communities and stifle our businesses,” she said. “By tackling this issue, we have the opportunity to create streets that are safer for our families and kids, more efficient for commuters, and which make it easier for our businesses to attract customers.”
South Plainfield, said Buteas, is not immune to violent crime and while the community is fortunate to have a dedicated, professional police department Buteas feels the current administration is asking them to maintain the same policies they did in 2009. “Many of the residents I speak to fear for the future of their neighborhoods,” she said. “Borough government needs to step up and give our police the backup they need to fight crime in 2014.”
Deeply committed to the borough’s future, Buteas said she is seeking the mayoral seat because she feels it is time “borough government return to focusing on matters that threaten South Plainfield’s quality of life in an honest and open way.” According to Buteas, residents’ needs “are being unmet” and “policies are being implemented for short-term political gain that will weaken [South Plainfield] as a community in the long-term.”
The current administration, she said, has had five years of control and has not delivered on any of the key issues facing the borough in terms of traffic, increased crime and long-term fiscal health. “Mayor [Matt] Anesh and the Republicans have been in office five years and, during that time, our traffic has gotten worse, many residents fear an increase in crime, and our fiscal foundation has become riddled with holes,” she said.
As mayor, Buteas said she will work to “change the way business in done in Borough Hall to fix these problems and position ourselves for a stronger future.”