(Editor’s Note: This year, two at-large seats are up for grabs on the South Plainfield Borough Council. Democrats Jon Dean and Gary Vesce are running against Republicans Ray Rusnak (the incumbent) and Stephanie Bartfalvi; Republican Councilman Robert Richkus is not seeking re-election. Council terms are three years and profiles are being published alphabetically.)
SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – Democrat Gary Vesce is seeking election to the South Plainfield Borough Council. His name will appear on the ballot in ‘Row B.’
Vesce grew up in Piscataway and moved to South Plainfield in 1975. He resided in the borough for more than 30 years and served on the Zoning Board from 2002 until relocating to Jamesburg in 2007. In 2014, Vesce returned to South Plainfield and, last November, he and fellow Democratic candidate William Bethea ran unsuccessfully for a seat on the council.
For the past 42 years, Vesce has been employed with the Middlesex County Department of Infrastructure Management and, this past March, was promoted to director of the Office of Public Works. In addition to being a Certified Asphalt Technologist and Certified Public Works Manager, Vesce is also a member of the NJ Association of County Road Supervisors, serving as its vice president for the past four years.
Vesce said he is seeking election to the council because he is dedicated to the community and seeing South Plainfield move in a positive direction.
“There is a process for how this town is headed in and how it needs to be run and I want to be part of that,” said Vesce, noting that his 40-plus years with the county would make him an asset to the borough, particularly when it comes to improving South Plainfield infrastructure and addressing traffic concerns.
“Traffic here is horrendous and we need to come up with solutions to alleviate some of it. Someone with my background could come in and provide a different point-of-view. It may not be right or wrong, but maybe it is something they haven’t thought about,” he said, adding, “Everyone on the council has their area of expertise and I have mine. I might have an idea that they haven’t thought about and it may resonate.”
According to Vesce, taxes are another key issue that need to be addressed. As a member of the council, Vesce said he will work to ensure that all residents of the borough are being taxed equally and also look into how taxpayer dollars are being spent.
“We need to determine whether or not resources can be utilized better and look into ways to utilize more shared services for projects that can be done in house,” he said, adding, “Right now, South Plainfield has the one of the lowest tax rates in the county; I’d like to make us the town with the lowest tax rate in the county and make this town one of the best places to live in the state.”
Vesce continued, “Taxes are the number one issue affecting the town; everyone worries about taxes. If it is not affordable to live here, people are going to leave and that is a concern. You want your kids to grow up, be able to stay here, and invest in the town.”
An advocate for those who work in emergency services, Vesce said that as a member of the council he would also work to ensure that South Plainfield’s police, fire, and EMS have everything they need to do their jobs, safely and efficiently.
“Each and every day, they go out there and give their all. I’ve seen it firsthand working on the roads for 42 years,” he said. “I want to put every possible tool in their hands to keep us – the residents – and the town safe.”
Vesce prides himself on being dedicated to the town and feels the role of councilmember is to ‘listen to the public,’ ‘serve as a voice,’ and ‘be transparent.’
“If someone comes to me with a question and I do not know the answer I will work to find it out or point someone in the right direction. I cannot solve all the problems and certainly won’t have all the answers, but I want to work with the council to try to get those answers,” he said, adding, “I don't pull any punches, will work my tail off to help, and I will fight for what is right for the residents of South Plainfield.”
At the end of the day, said Vesce, his goals and interests are the same as everyone else’s. “South Plainfield is like family - it is home. I have family here. I moved back into South Plainfield because I love the town and anything that happens here affects me also,” he said. “I want to be part of the process that helps this town thrive.”
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