Meet the Candidates for the Republican Party primary for Tabernacle Township Committee — Part four

Jason Litowitz

1. Make your final pitch. Why should you be a Republican nominee for township committee?

Litowitz

Working on this campaign the past two months has been a great honor. Meeting with more of my fellow Tabernacle residents and voters, and discussing their concerns about the current state of our town and its leadership has been an incredible experience.

Most disheartening, many people I spoke with feel disenfranchised. They feel their voices aren’t being heard, and that decisions are being made not just without their input, but without them even knowing what’s going on. The single most common theme I learned was that residents are happy finally to have a choice, perhaps an echo of what is going on at the national level of politics.

Those who know me well know that I do not like to rock the proverbial boat. It was a difficult decision for me to put my name on the ballot. However, the birth of my son last year provided me with a new drive to ensure that Tabernacle remains the wonderful town that it has been, and where so many others have chosen to live and raise their families.

As a regular at township meetings, it never escaped me that our current officeholders have gone virtually unchallenged at election time for several years. So I decided to stick my neck out, offer some fresh ideas, and work to change the system.

I have always been an advocate of personal and fiscal responsibility. The platform that my running mate Tina Marie Coolidge and I have put forth reflects that influence. The township needs a financial plan that thinks not just about the immediate needs, but projects what our needs will be in the upcoming years and has an idea on how we will handle it, so as to avoid large tax increases.

My background makes me uniquely qualified to sit on the township committee. My degree in physics from Cornell University and my years of work in information technology have provided me with a very fact-based, detail-oriented thought process. Furthermore, I went to law school at Emory University and practiced law for a number of years, which refined my skills in looking at the potential long-term impacts of decisions.

The Sun specifically asked us to address the controversial plan — conceived by our opponents — that is aimed at merging or restructuring our fire company and rescue squad under a new Public Safety Department and coordinator. I am concerned about the cost of this venture in a town of 7,000 people, as well as the widening rift between the dedicated volunteers on our fire company and rescue squad that this plan has created. My running mate and I have pledged to do everything humanly possible to foster a stronger relationship between these folks who faithfully answer the alarm, even while the rest of us sleep.

As we stated in our Positive Plan for Change, there are plenty of other organizations, not to mention businesses, in town that could use the assistance of a more welcoming and forward-thinking township committee. We will work to hear their concerns and support them, but of course, not meddle or micromanage them.

Finally, I would like to thank the Tabernacle Sun for fielding this series of questions. Again, the entire experience has been nothing but an honor. I would encourage any of your readers who wish to learn more about Tina Marie and myself, and our platform, to visit our website www.PositiveChangeForTabernacle.com.

Lee

Stephen Lee

1. Make your final pitch. Why should you be a Republican nominee for township committee?

Very simply, I would like to continue to serve on the Township Committee because I bring experience, passion for the community, and a desire to keep Tabernacle a safe, affordable place to live. Tabernacle has been and will always be my home, and I want it to continue to be a great place to live and raise my family for generations to come.

To accomplish this, we need to manage the town and its resources in a way that deals with the challenges we face, putting this long-term goal in the forefront. In my six years on committee, I’ve utilized my leadership skills from my previous experiences, but never forgotten the life lessons learned from my parents, grandparents and extended family. Being raised in Tabernacle has been instrumental in my experience as a public servant because I have some personal connection with most of the residents that I am charged with representing. It takes strong leadership skills to be willing to question if there is a better way, solicit input from our stakeholders and then make the decisions that best represent Tabernacle’s needs. Knowing and understanding our community has helped me to make these decisions

Living in a relatively small town like Tabernacle has always had incredible benefits. The outpouring of love and support for our families during tragic times is an excellent example of that. It reminds us how fortunate we are to call Tabernacle home and how strong our community truly is in times of need. What sets us apart from other communities is our level of volunteerism. Each part of our community organizations are volunteer-dependent and successful because of our collective desire to maintain the quality of life in Tabernacle. Our volunteers in scouts, the school, TAA, church, first responders and historical society, just to name a few, are the backbone of our community and take their respective responsibilities very seriously.

As your representative on the township committee, we have made real progress in many areas, including the construction of a new emergency services facility, maintaining a low municipal tax rate, producing responsible budgets, strengthening the review process and increasing transparency. We are looking at all township services for ways to lessen the burden on the taxpayers and have instituted and are enforcing ordinances to combat abandoned properties and the problems they cause. We are continuing to look at shared services with adjoining towns, and taking advantage of grants to make improvements to our roads.

As a lifelong member of our community, it has been an honor to serve on the Township Committee. I am thankful for our “Tabernacle Strong” community that reminds me how fortunate I am to be able to serve all the residents of Tabernacle. Tabernacle has and will always be part of my heart and soul, and I hope to continue to serve in that capacity.

Coolidge

Tina Coolidge

1. Make your final pitch. Why should you be a Republican nominee for township committee?

I have to begin by repeating what I stated in my first submission to the Sun; namely that it has been years since we have had a competitive election in Tabernacle for township committee.

Interestingly, this is the same feedback I have received from the many residents and voters I have visited going door-to-door these past several weeks. Voters tell me they are pleased to have a choice for a change. They like the idea of new people and new ideas. I’m gratified by the friendly chatter and their encouragement.

In conversing with these folks I have discovered just what I expected: these are hardworking people who feel isolated from decisions being made by township committee, local events, and volunteer organizations and activities. They want to know what’s going on, and they want to be heard.

My running mate and I have pledged to address all these shortcomings. Our plan is just that simple — and just that big!

I am putting my experience in local activities on the table along with my professional background and giving voters a real choice. My running mate and I offer a positive plan for improving township government.

I look forward to the challenge of long-term budget planning, thus to avoid unnecessary big tax increases in the future. I look forward to reaching out to our emergency services volunteers, addressing their concerns and building a stronger working relationship. And I look forward to improving communications with all our residents.

I am not radically different from other residents in this wonderful town. My husband and I moved here to raise our family and meet new people. I am a working mom who served on the school board, the township recreation committee, and have been a willing volunteer on such organizations as our popular TAA program.

My running mate and I raised our commitment to a new level by pledging not to take a township committee salary, if elected. No, we do not have the easy name recognition of the incumbents. But we do believe that holding elected office is a privilege, and not an entitlement.

Finally, voters should know that no Democrats filed to run for township committee. So this Republican Primary likely will decide who serves on township committee starting in January 2017.

Thank you to the Sun for allowing us this opportunity to be heard. Learn more about us by visiting our website at www.PositiveChangeForTabernacle.com