Meet the Candidates for Shamong Township Committee: Week 4
As the Shamong Township Committee has a contested election this year, with two open seats and four candidates running in the November 2016 election, the Shamong Sun newspaper is hosting a Meet the Candidates series, where candidates are given a series of questions having to do with Shamong Township so residents may get to know who could possibly be on the council for next year.
This week the candidates gave their final pitch, answering the question: Why should you be elected to the Township Committee?
First, I want to thank the staff of The Shamong Sun, for giving the candidates the opportunity to talk about the important issues facing our town.
With Election Day quickly approaching, I wanted to take a moment to recognize the importance of what it means to be an American citizen and the role we play in appointing our elected officials.
This year, we will be changing the face of our commander-in-chief, at a critical time in our history. This individual will be facing continued threats to our national security, a country continuing to look for jobs and economic growth, as well as important decisions impacting our global climate. Our new president will be nominating a new chief justice to the United States Supreme Court and could be re-shaping what we do about health care as a nation. These decisions will not be easy and they are critical to our future.
If you have not decided, as of today, I would ask yourself these questions. Do I truly understand the policies and views for which they stand? Do I believe this candidate can make an impact on our nation? Can this candidate work with the opposition party to get things done, in the House and Senate? We have to look past the theatrics of this campaign and decide who is the right choice. Please take the time to educate yourself on the policies of the candidates; it is your duty and right!
As I have previously stated, Shamong faces important future decisions, as well. Over the previous three issues of this series, “Meet the Candidates”, I have outlined the specific problems/issues that we are confronting. Issues such as, continued decline in financial support at the state and federal levels, finding new sources of revenue for our township and how we keep our town businesses growing. Along with these issues, I have outlined specific solutions/plans to solve/manage these issues, such as continued value in shared service involvement, the building of economic development zone possible growth and the possible development of a cemetery in our town, to meet the needs of our citizens and possibly generate a revenue stream for the taxpayers. These real solutions are critical to our success.
In 2013, I was fortunate to be elected to the Shamong Township Committee. My only goal, as a member of the committee was to continue to keep Shamong, the beautiful, family friendly, envied community that we love. I believe we have put the plans in place to keep Shamong moving forward for the future. It is important to point out the other members of the township committee and myself are not politicians, we are managers of the business, the business of Shamong, and we seek no other political office.
My original goal has not changed and it will not change. I want to keep our town the same great place it has been for my family for 16 years. Now, I am asking for your vote, to continue the work we have started to keep our township the pride of Burlington County.
I thank you for your consideration.
The Shamong Township Committee suffers from a serious lack of new people and new ideas. Since 2010, there have been only two changes in committee members. One of those changes occurred in 2013 and one in 2014. Simply put, the committee isn’t representing the people of Shamong. The lack of new ideas and new people leads to complacency of the committee members. In the second decade of the new millennium, how has the committee served the residents of Shamong?
The reason I’m running for Township Committee is that I realized that our local government wasn’t living up to the promise of our great nation. Since the start of the second decade of this millennium, Township Committee has done a record amount of not changing. The same candidates have held three spots on the committee since before 2010. Mayor Gimbel was selected by these committee members, given a seat on the committee before receiving one vote by the residents of Shamong. Now the seats held by Mayor Gimbel and Deputy Mayor DiCroce are open. The residents of Shamong have the opportunity to have their voice heard. I’m eager to work on the committee.
The access to the inner workings of the local government aren’t transparent for the residents of Shamong. Shamong.net is dated and difficult to use. The minutes from Township Committee meetings are text heavy and nearly impossible to quickly search through. Shamong community outreach using free tools such as Facebook is near zero. Shamong.net is filled with links to websites that no longer direct users to workable external sites. The “Scene Around Town” section of the website links to photos from Octoberfest 2005 and images taken by Robert Fraley from 2007. All the photos show the wonderful events that occur in Shamong, but to have the “most recent” images of life in Shamong occurring a decade ago is totally unacceptable. We should be partnering with our local schools to allow our talented young photographers to submit pictures they have take of life and events in Shamong. Shamong.net serves as a portal where government can explain the work it does to our community, but the current Shamong.net fails to do anything resembling explaining the work the government does.
The operating budget for Shamong from 2010 to 2015 grew by 15 percent. Ask yourself, does the township feel like it is offering more services and better services to you, the resident of Shamong? The Township Committee members obviously feel they have done a good job; in fact they think they’ve done such a good job that the budget
for mayor and township committee members rose more than 17 percent from 2010 to 2016.
For years, residents of Shamong have been unable to elect our own mayor. While the residents of Shamong voted for the Township Committee, the members of that committee ultimately selected one of themselves to hold the position of mayor and deputy mayor. I say no more of these government appointed Mayors. The residents of Shamong are well educated, savvy and well informed. It’s time we directly elect the mayor and deputy mayor. I’m asking you to vote for a new vision this November. I’m young, I’m dedicated, and I know we can do better
Decision time is near and you have four candidates who all have the best interests of Shamong Township at heart. You get to pick two. When it comes to a position like Township Committee in a small town like ours, it is not about the political party your name appears under or some grand agenda, it is about the best interests of our town. The needs of the people in our town. Personally, if I could only vote for one candidate it would be Robert Rinaldi. I have met him and spoken at length with him and he has impressed me immensely. That said, I would work very well with him. But I would also work quite well with the other committee members. It is not about me, it is not about them, it is about our great community. I have proudly lived here for 20 years and I want to see Shamong thrive for years to come. There is one very important thing you must do though. Vote on Nov. 8. Thank you all for your consideration.
As a long-time resident of nearly 25 years, I have been active in our community, privileged to be currently serving as your deputy mayor. I believe in personal responsibility, limited government, strong property rights, individual liberty, free markets, and a strong belief in smaller government and lower taxes. The role of government should be to uphold the Constitution and provide the freedom to pursue your own goals and aspirations. Responsible government should be supportive of ingenuity and innovation and respectful of hard-working, honest neighbors who are all trying to make a better life for their families. I emphasize the empowerment of the individual to solve most of their own problems and not have government intrude into their private lives or businesses. I will continue to watch taxpayer money like it was my own, make commonsense conservative decisions to fix our problems, and I will fight for what is right for each of Shamong’s neighbors and businesses. I will continue to highlight and protect our awesome Pinelands town. I would be honored to have your vote and ask for you to support Mike Di Croce and Tim Gimbel in this year’s town council election.