SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – Approximately 80 residents had the opportunity to ‘meet the candidates’ for borough council at a debate-style event held Oct. 23.
Election Day 2019 is Tuesday, Nov. 5 and, this year, four residents are vying for the two, at-large seats. Jon Dean, the Democrat incumbent, is seeking re-election to his second consecutive term, with Democrat Sandy Doyon and Republicans Melanie Mott and Peter Smith also looking to garner a seat; Democratic Councilman Gary Vesce is not seeking re-election to a second term.
During the annual ‘Meet the Candidates Night,’ which was held at the senior center and co-sponsored by the South Plainfield Business Association and the South Plainfield Observer, candidates had the opportunity to present their platforms and answer questions submitted anonymously by residents through moderator Suzanne Lepore.
Questions and topics covered at this year’s debate included but weren’t limited to train noise, property maintenance/town development and beautification, the tax rate, borough debt, overnight commercial truck parking, development of the Cornell-Dubilier superfund site and the Motorola property, sewer and road infrastructure, the pool closure, and issues within the recreation department.
The Meet the Candidates Night, in its entirety, can be viewed online below:
The following are details about the four candidates and brief speaking points from the debate; TAPinto South Plainfield will be publishing in-depth profiles on each of the four candidates over the course of next week.
Dean, a lifelong resident and principal owner of A-Tech Landscaping was also involved with both the South Plainfield Fire Department and Office of Emergency Management, said if re-elected he will continue to focus on infrastructure/sewer and road improvements as well as look into renovating borough hall, and focus on economic development to attract more higher-end stores and restaurants.
“If re-elected as councilman, I will continue to use my skills and knowledge and work with the rest of the council to keep our community going where it needs to be,” said Dean, adding, “If we can keep improving South Plainfield, we will become one of the most desired towns to live in, which will only help us improve our downtown with new stores and restaurants while increasing our ratables.”
Doyon, a lifelong resident and elementary teacher in the district for over 25 years, said that, if elected, she will work to address the community’s opioid crisis, look into ways to renovate borough hall, and look at areas and businesses in which beautification efforts are needed.
According to Doyon, ‘volunteering and public service have been family traditions’ that she is proud to continue. “I am running for council because I know I can do a great job and give 100-percent in whatever I do. My experience working with people and being able to help solve their problems will be an asset to the community,” said Doyon, who, in her closing remarks, added, “I will work hard for this community…and will never stop.”
Mott, a resident since 2005 and licensed Realtor who has volunteered her time with school PTOs and charitable organizations, said if elected she will work to keep taxes low, community beautification, and expand programs for children, especially those with special needs.
Mott feels her professional experience in running a commission-only based ‘requires strong ethics, morals, and the ability to always put her clients’ interests above [her] own.’ These skills, she said, will be ‘highly beneficial to the borough.’ “… Once I commit to something, I commit 100-percent. I am fair, honest, fully transparent, open-minded, a great listener, and a relentless fighter when it comes to doing the right thing,” said Mott.
If elected, Smith, a resident since 1999 who has served on the borough’s planning board for 13 years and been a member of the South Plainfield Elks #2298 since 1988, said he will continue the ‘success that South Plainfield has going forward,’ listen to what residents say, and work with them to 'make South Plainfield a better community' as well as look into renewable energies.
“We are a great community and will be a better community by working together in unity,” said Smith, adding, “I am running for council because I feel I can help our community continue the growth and direction we are going in and want to dedicate myself to the community.”
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