Mayor Stephen Lee IV and Deputy Mayor Joseph Yates IV have clinched the win for the Tabernacle Township Committee during the 2016 primary election held on June 7. Hoping to fill the two seats that are up for election, these candidates will run uncontested for the general election in November unless independent candidates to file to run by the Aug. 1 deadline.
Defeating Tina Marie Coolidge and Jason Litowitz for the Republican Party nomination, together the incumbent committee members Lee and Yates earned 61.53 percent of all votes. Lee received 718 votes while Yates received 589 out of a total of 2,124 votes, according to the unofficial results from Burlington County.
“It’s a great honor to have received the highest vote total. I’m very humbled that Tabernacle’s residents have entrusted me to serve them once again,” Lee said. “I know it was a highly competitive race on both sides, but I’m confident that the community can come back together and move forward.”
Similarly, Yates was excited this year’s election again resulted in his favor.
“It’s always rewarding to win, but this year especially with the placement I had on the ballot. Stephen was at the top and I was all the way at the bottom, so it was easy to miss me,” Yates said. “That’s a huge statement that the voters wanted me back [on the committee].”
Yates expressed his love for Tabernacle and the enjoyment he gets from being able to serve on its governing board. Although the formal elections will not take place until November, with no one running on the Democratic ticket and with no independent yet in the running, Yates has begun to look ahead to the changes he would like to see made in the next year.
“What I would really, truly like to do now is to take a hard look at how we can rejuvenate the business association,” Yates said. “We must figure out what the needs of the town are to draw in new business.”
He recalled how the township used to have a committee in place comprised of two local residents, representatives from the township and business owners to assist the growth of local business. While Yates admitted he does not know why the committee fell through, he would love to see it start back up in the near future under his leadership.
Influential modifications to the community such as strengthening local business are the type of positive changes both Lee and Yates hope to continue if officially elected. Although no longer in the running for Township Committee, Coolidge and Litowitz agree the township’s well being is what is most important.
“We got into this race because of a desire to serve the community that we love. We decided that, win or lose, we had to raise these critical issues into the public discourse because actively addressing these issue will lead to positive changes for our community,” they said in a joint statement.