WAYNE, NJ – Election day is on November 5, 2019, and all six Wayne Town Council Ward seats are up for grabs.
On Thursday, September 26 at 7:00 pm, the League of Women Voters 0f Wayne Township will be hosting a Candidates’ Forum in the Wayne Council Chambers at the municipal building at 475 Valley Road.
“We’ve done these forums for many, many years, and they’ve always been well-attended,” said Rebecca Yates, the President of the Wayne League. “These aren’t debates. They are meant to be informative and educational, not confrontational,” said Yates
The election forum coming up on Thursday night will have Wards Two, Three, Four and Five represented.
“The First Ward Republican candidate cannot come,” said Yates, referring to incumbent Councilman Richard Jasterzbski.
"I am unable to attend the forum this year due to a family conflict," said Jasterzbski.
“Occasionally, there are scheduling conflicts and some candidates are unable to attend,” said Yates."Therefore, by League of Women Voter rules, we cannot have what is called an ‘empty chair’ debate. We cannot have only one candidate speaking when there are two candidates running for office."
The Democratic candidate for the First Ward is Arlene Sullivan, who is part of the “Wayne For All” group of Democratic candidates for council. The campaign manager for Wayne For All, Sam Liebman called TAPinto to convey their disappointment that Jasterzbski cannot participate in the forum, saying: “We want voters to be informed of what options they have coming into the election. We want them to be fully armed with any information that they would need and because [Jasterzbski] is not attending, neither candidate will be allowed to answer the questions as per League rules. We believe that this disempowers the voters of the First Ward. So, we hope that he reconsiders and decides to come.”
In the Sixth Ward, Republican incumbent, Jonathan Ettman is running unopposed and, by the same ‘empty chair’ league rules, cannot participate in the forum.
In the Second Ward, Republican incumbent Al Sadowski is being challenged by Democrat Dianne Douthat. In the Third Ward, Republican incumbent Franco Mazzei will face Democrat Karen Dowicz Haas.
The Fourth Ward has three candidates, with third-party candidate Christian V. Smith running from the Budget Hawk party against Republican incumbent Joseph Scuralli and Democratic candidate Kenneth Tahan.
And, in Wayne’s Fifth Ward, Republican incumbent Lucy “Aileen” Rivera will be challenged by Democratic candidate Francine Ritter.
The forum is public so all are welcome to attend, but it will also be televised live on Wayne public television channel 77, with at least two repeated showings before election day.
On October 3, there will be a second forum featuring candidates for Passaic County Sheriff, the New Jersey General Assembly District 40 seats and two Passaic County Freeholder seats.
For Sheriff, Democratic incumbent Richard Berdnik will face off against Republican candidate Darren Woolridge.
Republican incumbents Kevin Rooney and Christopher DePhillips are challenged by Democratic candidates Maria Martini Cordonnier and Julie O’brien, respectively.
Democratic incumbent Freeholders Terry Duffy and Pat Lepore are facing Republican Maria A. Giammona where the voters will choose any two of the three candidates.
During the forums, each candidate will be given the same amount of time to give an opening statement and answer questions that are asked by the forum moderator. “The questions come from the League, but also from the audience in attendance,” said Yates.
On September 24, the League of Women Voters is conducting a voter registration drive outside the Stop and Shop in the Preakness Shopping Center in Wayne from 10 am to 6 pm. If you know someone eligible to vote who is not registered, encourage them to come out.
In addition to sponsoring candidates forums, the League of Women Voters prepares and distributes information about ballot issues. Additional information and absentee ballot forms can be found online at www.LWVNJ.org.
The League of Women Voters is nonpartisan and never supports or opposes a candidate or political party. The organization is open to both men and women.
For information about joining the Wayne League, call Libby Arlook at 973-694-0919.