Meet the Candidates in the 2018 Monroe Township Mayoral and Council Election

This year’s candidates for Mayor of Monroe Township and Monroe Township Council explain why they are running.

Editor’s Note: The Williamstown Sun requested the following submissions from this year’s candidates for Mayor of Monroe Township and Monroe Township Council. The candidates’ responses for each race are listed in alphabetical order.

Monroe Township Mayoral Election Candidates

Name: Richard DiLucia

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Age: 79

Occupation: Retired Labor Leader

Political Affiliation: Democrat

Clubs/Organizations: Elks, District 1199 Retirees

Why are you running for Mayor of Monroe Township?

As a retired Labor Leader and current Council President, Rich has focused on lowering the Township’s municipal budget, stabilizing taxes and was the architect of a 0% municipal tax increase for the last two years. Crunching numbers and seeing the overall fiscal landscape of the community is essential. Monroe Township is at a cross-roads and needs a Mayor that has the fiscal awareness to put the best interests of the taxpayers first.

Name: William M. Gilson

Age: 59

Occupation: Tax Attorney

Political Affiliation: Republican

Clubs/Organizations: New Jersey State Bar Association, Trust and Estate and Taxation Divisions, Cumberland County, Bar Association Trustee, Cumberland County College Paralegal Program, Advisor and Instructor, Mater Christi Council Knights of Columbus, Officer Our Lady of Peace R.C. Church, Trustee and Carnival Co-Chair

Why are you running for Mayor of Monroe Township?

On Nov. 6, Monroe Township voters find themselves at a crossroads, with an opportunity to shape their future. One road is a route mired in the past: a path that, for the past several years, has been littered with bureaucrats and professionals seeking lucrative contracts and payback for prior support that has long since run its course. This is a path that Monroe taxpayers have been traveling for some time, but it represents only one of the options that lay before them. The other road, a road less traveled, offers a change from business as usual. This road will require every decision made along it to answer the question “Is this in the best interest of Monroe Township, or just a chosen few?” This is a road that holds the politicians and lawmakers accountable to the taxpayers who finance it.

Before offering solutions to specific issues, we need to talk about change. Positive change requires inclusion of different values and ideas, not exclusion. It requires communication, cooperation, and compromise. Change cannot be imposed upon anyone by anyone else. It is a joint venture, a partnership of interested voters in which everyone’s voice plays a role in shaping the course forward. The problems of Monroe, including rising taxes, drugs and crime, concerns about the M.U.A., and challenges posed by affordable housing requirements, affect all of us. I believe that inclusion of everyone’s ideas, encompassing republicans, democrats, independent voters, and the previously uninterested, is the only way to restore every person’s faith in a system that works for them. The problems facing Monroe can be solved by the people of Monroe — all of them.

From the day I take office, I will do my utmost to ensure that high-level employment positions and contracts are handled by local, homegrown, Monroe talent. Monroe tax expenditure can no longer be predicated on republican or democratic ideals; instead, funds will be allotted according to how well they answer the question “Who or what is best for Monroe?” Monroe tax dollars best serve Monroe when they are spent in Monroe.

The road less traveled, the road forward for Monroe, is rooted in innovative ideas, creative solutions, and above all, a willingness to abandon a declining path that has led to our current circumstances. The road less traveled has much to offer, but it needs all of us to walk it. The road less traveled needs you.

Monroe Township Council Election Candidates

Name: Katherine Falcone

Age: 47

Occupation: President — SOS Group, Inc.

Political Affiliation: Democrat

Clubs/Organizations: President — Williamstown Chamber of Commerce

Name: Patrick O’Reilly

Age: 43

Occupation: Telecommunications Technology Executive

Political Affiliation: Democrat

Clubs/Organizations: Monroe Township Zoning Board

Name: Gregory A. Wolfe

Age: 46

Occupation: Retired Police Officer and currently a Special Agent with the National Insurance Crime Bureau

Political Affiliation: Democrat

Clubs/Organizations: FOP Lodge #125, NJ State FOP, National FOP, NJSIAA

Why are you running for Monroe Township Council?

(Candidates Katherine Falcone, Patrick O’Reilly and Gregory A. Wolfe submitted the following joint response)

Monroe Township needs leaders that have a Vision for Tomorrow with a plan for today! Rich DiLucia for Mayor, Katherine Falcone, Pat O’ Reilly, and Greg Wolfe for Council have the backgrounds and experience to attack the issues that have plagued Monroe Township and place the taxpayer first! New faces and views at the council level along with the experience and financial know-how at the Mayoral position was the basis of forming this multi-talented and free-thinking group of Democratic candidates that defeated members of the current administration in the Primary Election.

Katherine Falcone for Monroe Township Council: Founder and president of the Williamstown Chamber of Commerce, member of the Main Street Committee and the 2015 Gloucester County Small Business Person of the Year, Katherine understands what is needed to secure new businesses on the Black Horse Pike corridor along with Main Street. It is time for a business leader in the community to help move Monroe forward and lessen the tax burden on the residents.

Pat O’Reilly for Monroe Township Council: As an executive in the technology industry, Pat provides much needed insight to utilizing advancing technologies such as solar and automated processes in order to reduce the municipality’s recurring expenses. These systems will enhance services for all the residents. Pat’s administrative background will enable him to collaborate ideas with all council members and provide productive programs.

Greg Wolfe for Monroe Township Council: As a retired Monroe Township police officer and founder and past-president of the Monroe Braves Football and Cheerleading, Greg has always been focused on our community. Greg believes that it is time to provide a downtown free of drug trade, a safe environment for our children, increased revenue streams to offset taxes, and a focus on closing the disconnect between the town’s workforce and the municipal leaders.

These candidates are ready to move Monroe forward, and have established the action items and plans to do so on day one!

Name: William V. Blong

Age: 48

Occupation: Truck Driver/Member of Local 1360/Local 252 Glaziers

Political Affiliation: Republican

Clubs/Organizations: Monroe Township Republican Club, SAL Member-American Legion

Why are you running for Monroe Township Council?

My name is William Blong and I have been a resident of Monroe for my entire life. I am happily married for 17-years. My wife and I have a 16-year old son and we chose this community to raise him. I am a member of Glaziers Local 252 and have been for over 17-years. I was awarded the apprentice of the year award and was made a shop steward and job foreman. I am currently employed as a truck driver and am a member of Local 1360.

I am running for the office of council at large in Williamstown for the simple reason that I was born and raised here. Over the last 20-plus years I have watched this town grow from a small rural community to a large residential community. Some of the changes have been positive however some have taken something away. We have lost our farmlands, hunting grounds, and that small-town feel. We can’t stop progress; it’s bound to happen. But before we can continue to grow, we must fix existing problems.

One major concern is the amount of new residential construction being approved while we have too many abandoned and vacant properties. This is an issue that needs to be addressed as it affects all residents of this community. The fact is, abandoned homes fall into disrepair; impact home values and are an eyesore to the community.

Although we have grown exponentially we are lacking in industry and commercial business. As I drive down Main Street and I see the suffering small business community I can’t help but think that we should be doing everything we can to help these businesses grow and prosper. I have met with some of the business owners and I believe that these businesses can grow and prosper to the benefit of the entire town if given the proper support from local government.

If I am elected to office, I plan on doing everything in my power to work with local businesses, promote commercial and industrial growth, and slow the tide of new construction until we can alleviate the burden of viable abandoned properties. I look forward to meeting and speaking to as many residents as I possibly can between now and Nov. 6. I ask for your support for myself and the entire Republican team in Monroe Township. Thank you.

Name: Janet L. Schaefer

Age: 68

Occupation: Student at Rowan University/Senior

Political Affiliation: Republican

Clubs/Organizations: Vice Chair, Monroe Township Republican Executive Committee, Various Ministries at Our Lady of Peace Parish, Williamstown, Honorary Member of Phi Theta Kappa and Lambda Epsilon Chi

Why are you running for Monroe Township Council?

Greetings to all Williamstown residents; my name is Janet Schaefer, a resident of Williamstown for over 40 years. Residing in the Forest Hills section with my husband, Walter, married 47 years. My husband recently retired as a teamster after driving for UPS for 43 years. He proudly served for the United States Air Force during the Vietnam War.

I have had a successful business career in the private sector for more than four decades primarily in sales, marketing and office management. Most of my experience has been in the computer industry working for manufacturing, distribution, and resale markets.

Since leaving corporate America, I began taking classes at Rowan College at Gloucester County, and received an associate’s degree in marketing and management, together with a paralegal certification with honors. Currently, I am a senior at Rowan University working towards a bachelor’s degree in history.

Since 2013, I became a member of St. Mary’s Church; whereby I have become active in some of their ministries; namely, RCIA and the Lazarus Ministry. I also participate in the weekly masses as a Lector and a Eucharistic Minister. When needed, I enjoy substitute teaching elementary students at St. Mary’s School.

I have been actively involved with the local Williamstown Republican Club where I have held positions of president and secretary. Currently, I am serving as the Vice Chair of the Monroe Township Republican Executive Committee.

This past summer I visited with many local businesses in town. I wanted to find out what the business climate was like in Williamstown. An array of issues were heard from high taxes, a burden of regulations; crime/drugs affecting businesses on Main Street causing relocation or closure; abandonment of homes; the closing of Geets Diner for many months, and the list goes on.

With serving the private sector for many years in leadership roles, when I am elected Council at Large, one of main areas of focus would be in the building of a more friendly business environment through thorough planning, setting priorities and coordinating the growth and prosperity of our business community.

We would love your support — and the opportunity to earn your vote this November.

We, the Republican candidates, will bring Monroe Township: new voices; real solutions, and honest leadership.

Name: Joseph James Sheridan

Age: 76

Occupation: Retired Oil Worker

Political Affiliation: Republican

Clubs/Organizations: Several Ministries at OLOPP, American Legion Post 252, Knights of Columbus

Why are you running for Monroe Township Council?

I have been married for 51 years with 3 grown children and 5 grandchildren. During the Vietnam War, I served in the U.S. Navy with Fighter Squadron VF-103 attached to the USS Saratoga CVA-60, an attack aircraft carrier. I worked in the oil refineries in southwest Philly for 32 years and was member of PACE-1 Union. I retired as head operator of the HF Alkylation Unit.

I am an active parishioner of OLOPP involved in several ministries: Juniper ministry, Manor Care, St. Joseph Men, Eucharistic Minister, and Religious Education. I am a member of Archangel Council 7429 of the Knights of Columbus and held the office of Financial Secretary for 19 years. I am also a 4th Degree member of Our Lady of Guadalupe Assembly 2021.

The reason that I am running for Council is I am concerned about the direction Monroe Township is heading. Taxes have been steadily increasing. There is an item called “Site Fee.” This is a tax on manufactured homes which effects mainly senior citizens who are on fixed income. This site fee tax has risen from $2 a month in 2006 to $17 a month this year. Several families have moved out of Monroe because they cannot afford to live here. We have to make our Township more affordable for residents. The drug crime on Main St. needs to be addressed also.

When elected, I believe I can represent the concerns of senior citizens, working families and veterans.

I hope you will support the Republican candidates for Monroe on November 6. Thank you.

Anthony is a graduate of Rowan University and a proud freelance contributor for 08108 magazine. He has past bylines in The Sun Newspapers and the Burlington County Times.
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