Meet the Candidates in the 2018 Washington Township Council Election

This year’s candidates for Washington Township Council explain why they are running.

Editor’s Note: The Washington Township Sun requested the following submissions from this year’s candidates for Washington Township Council. The candidates’ responses are listed in alphabetical order.

Washington Township Council Election Candidates

Name: Giancarlo D’Orazio

Age: 67

Occupation: Retired IT manager/Computer Analyst; former small local business owner; Substitute Teacher (WTSD)

Political Affiliation: Independent

Clubs/Organizations: Knights Of Columbus, Filitalia (Gloucester County Chapter).

Why are you running for Washington Township Council?

Washington Township is experiencing a downward cycle, from the increasing number of closing businesses to a climbing number of abandoned homes. Despite this, we continue to build additional residential units without a common-sense plan for growth. We cannot ignore the adverse effects this has on our roads, water, and municipal services. Rather than concentrating on the emotions resulting from reckless partisan political decisions, I offer solutions to these problems. My running mate, Dominick A. Ruggiero Jr. and I are running on three major issues that will not increase your taxes: safety of our children, capital improvement and clean and plentiful drinking water.

First, protecting our children in school buildings needs to be addressed ASAP and our plan adds at least one full-time police officer in every school. This will be accomplished by managing new officers with experienced and retiring officers. Expenses are not one-to-one. I am happy to elaborate details in a debate or in any other forum but it will be at no additional cost to the community.

Our capital improvements program is a long-term circular approach to spending that will allow us to continually maintain our town. We will start by repairing and repaving 180-miles of municipal roads. This eliminates budget busting taxes in any given year. This too is without additional cost to the taxpayers.

Most of us don’t think twice about drinking water but we’ve seen communities across the country ruined by failing to ensure its cleanliness and delivery. Our leadership will bring businesses home without compromising the quality of our water.

My promise to you is that when we spend money we know it is your money. Our current administration treats surplus (taxpayers savings account) as found money just to get the budget approved while government waste actually increases. My promise to you is that when we spend money we know it is your money. There are other fiscal technicalities that impact taxes and spending including tax abatements and PILOT programs. These missed taxes leave a void in revenue for our schools and we have a plan that will prevent the taxpayers from making up for the lost revenues that these programs create.

Details on how to accomplish the goals we offer can be found on www.Township2018.com.

I am proud to have served as councilman and council President and feel I am the most qualified candidate to lead our community.

Name: Andrea Dougherty

Age: 37

Occupation: Inclusion Teacher for Woodbury City Public Schools

Political Affiliation: Democrat

Clubs/Organizations: NJEA, WEA (Pride Chair), Washington Township Democratic Executive Committee, Gloucester County Democratic Committee.

Why are you running for Washington Township Council?

While I did not grow up here, I chose to move to Washington Township to start and raise my young family. I am running for council because I love this town and I want to do whatever I can to make it even better. I was raised to believe that community service is a noble exercise of the freedom we have in this country and to me there is no better way to give back than to serve in a local government role. I plan to live in Washington Township for a very long time and I want to be an active participant in ensuring that this town is the best it can be for all of its residents, current and future.

Washington Township is a beautiful community full of opportunity and potential for growth. In the time that I have lived here, I have seen a lot of progress and I look forward to the opportunity to bring about even more positive change. I see the implementation of the Shop Washington Township program and the addition of an economic development consultant as two innovated ways to spur economic growth and support local small businesses. I was thrilled when Mayor Gattinelli’s promise to bring back the 4th of July Parade came to fruition, and in the past two years, I have attended a variety of new community events hosted by our town that I had seen in other towns but had never seen offered in Washington Township. I’m also excited about Police Chief Pat Gurcsik’s heavy focus on community policing that has brought officers out of their vehicles and into our neighborhoods and schools. Community outreach is a crucial component in fostering positive relationships between local government, businesses, and residents. I am excited to potentially be part of a team of leaders who will continue on the path to making this “Premier Community” an even better place to live.

Name: Sean Longfellow

Age: 32

Occupation: DRPA Police Sergeant, Council Vice President Washington Township

Political Affiliation: Democrat

Clubs/Organizations: Knights of Columbus

Why are you running for Washington Township Council?

Washington Township is where I grew up and where I’ve chosen to raise my children. The first time I ran for office, it was to get more involved in the township and make our community the best possible place to live. I’m running for re-election to continue that mission, as there is still work to be done. Over my last term, we have made our township a better place. We have stabilized taxes with no municipal tax increase the last three years. Additionally, we have been able to host multiple community events, including, bringing back the 4th of July Parade, wine, beer and food truck festivals. We’re also striving to make Washington Township a sustainable municipality, which saves the township money and has earned us recognition as a Sustainable Jersey Community.

Economic development is a priority, and as promised, we have a new economic development officer whose focus is our economic future. Our economic development officer has started a number of initiatives including a business recognition program, the Shop Washington Township Program and a top priority of mine, the revitalization of the Black Horse Pike. There will always be work to do on the economic development front and we will continue to streamline municipal processes to allow for the most business friendly town possible.

Public Safety has been another priority of mine. Since my current term began, we have downsized the number of police administrators while adding officers who work both on the street and in our schools to keep our families safe. Additionally, this past year we have approved the demolition of the Watson Turkey Farm, a longstanding public health concern and passed a “No Knock” ordinance. This ordinance will allow residents the opportunity to make it clear that they do not want to be bothered by anyone peddling goods.

When I took office, it was difficult to get information to the public. Now, we have a new township website that allows residents easy access to township information. This tool was the first step in a plan to provide residents with the transparency they long desired, recently, we introduced Washington Township One, a phone application that brings municipal services and information to your fingertips. These efforts have been focused on giving residents access to the services they need. If given the opportunity to serve, I will continue to utilize a common sense approach to municipal governance in Washington Township.

Name: Susan E. Pacewic

Age: 36

Occupation: High School History Teacher

Political Affiliation: Republican

Clubs/Organizations: Secretary of the Washington Township GOP

Why are you running for Washington Township Council?

After 29 years of living in Washington Township, I don’t think I have ever seen the area so run down at such an expensive cost. I grew up when it really was a “premier” community and when the municipal government really listened and acted on the concerns of the people, their employers. I have attended several council meetings and have listed to citizens illustrate their concerns and it seems that regardless of citizen disapproval, the council votes to the contrary of their concerns. The votes are not in the best interest of the citizens or the future of the town. I made the choice to run when the township hired two full time six-figure salary individuals that don’t even live in the town despite the resistance from the residents. This township is full of highly educated and talented individuals that were more than qualified for the jobs. Now those paychecks leave and are spent in another town. That’s not fiscal responsibility.

Right now, this township desperately needs more ratables and consumers need more options. People want to see stores like Wegmans, Trader Joe’s, Panera Bread, Chickie and Pete’s, etc. The Black Horse Pike looks like a second world country with closed businesses, overgrown medians, annual reappearing pot holes and aesthetically out of date décor that doesn’t even match the name of the town. We can do better than that and the citizens deserve better from their tax dollars.

I have absolutely no intention to be a career politician, but I do believe I, if the voters allow it, have a duty to put my assets in my local community. I believe with my extensive business experience (including restaurant management), computer software account management, and my last seven years as an alternative educator, I can put my assets and wide range of understanding into my community. I really look forward to returning Washington Township to the grandeur it once had. The people should have the final say on policies that shapes their lives.

Name: Domenick A. Ruggiero Jr.

Age: 85

Occupation: Retired; notary signing agent; self-employed; Realtor active license; actor; legal assistant

Political Affiliation: Independent

Clubs/Organizations: Member GSCBR NNA National Honor Society

Why are you running for Washington Township Council?

I have worked as a court mediator in municipal court both here and in Florida. I worked for children and families in Florida as a guardian ad-litum and here in NJ for CASA. I was also the first president of the WTSSPA and wrote their first contract, bylaws and constitution. I drove for NJ Transit and was vice president of ATU 880, Chairman of the Credit Union and served as the first chair of the safety committee. I served on the Washington Township BOE in 1993 and had passed in the state legislature the Maternity Bill, which made it mandatory to have mothers and newborns, remain in the hospital for 48 hours after the birth and 96 after a cesarean delivery. This law subsequently became a national law.

I am a Navy veteran having served 8 years, 2 active, as a hospital corpsman during the Korean War. I was discharged and married in 1955. I began working at General Electric Company in Philadelphia in production control, worked on the Apollo Bios and Minuteman three programs. At preset, I have my own Notary Business and do refinance closing. I also carry a real estate license.

I am running for council because of my broad range of experience. I have reached a point of living the phrase “been there, done that.” My three children went through the school system here and I have a desire to contribute and give back to the community that gave to me. I wish to restore more cultural activity here tin township from local artists and musicians both from the school system and local talent. I want better trash pickup, roads repaired and a stronger drug enforcement program.

In short I am in this for my fellow residents and me. I am not running to become famous; I don’t need it. I have been in TV commercials for SEPTA, the Eagles and Phillies. I have been in “House of Cards”, “Madame Secretary” and “Creed.” I also starred in an Italian film called “The Wait”.

I would love to see cursive writing, standard math and performing arts upgraded in our school systems. These qualifications, my friends, are why I want to be your councilman. I want to make a better township and one that regains premiere standing. Thank you all for your vote and do not hesitate to contact me.

Name: Vincent Spinelli

Age: 57

Occupation: Executive in High Tech Industry

Political Affiliation: Republican

Clubs/Organizations: Washington Township Republican Club, Knights of Columbus — Sancta Familia Council, Board Member — Our Lady of Hope Catholic School

Why are you running for Washington Township Council?

Vin Spinelli is a long time Washington Township resident that cares about the current decline in our community. He is new to politics and has no allegiance to any organization or individuals.

Vin, along with his running mates, Rich Super and Susan Pacewic (The Super Team), will focus on three pillars of our strategy “To Make Washington Township Premier Again”:

  1. Fiscal Responsibility
  2. Economic Development
  3. Government accountability and transparency

Vin brings global and operational business experience and discipline to the township government that will have an immediate impact in effecting our strategy.

While taxes have not increased in the past two to three years, our budget has. We are currently depleting our reserve accounts to accommodate the spending increases. Our current administration is spending way too much money on no-show and miscellaneous jobs that has resulted in human resource conflicts and law suits directed back to the government from these same employees.

The lack of proper city planning has resulted in a community with no economic vibrancy. Vin and the Republican candidates will focus on a plan to build a vibrant Town Center for Washington Township. We will make it easy for business to make changes to be competitive and incentives for businesses to move here. An economically vibrant Washington Township will encourage our young families to want to stay here and not move away.

In preparing for this election, it is abhorrently shocking to find that the only way to obtain information is through the Open Public Records Act (OPRA). With a business discipline in place, we will create quarterly reports to our citizens with transparent accounting for our spending. Our current administration is conflicted.

Vin Spinelli is rooted in his faith as a member of Holy Family Catholic Church. He is devoted to his family and his community. Vin’s leadership style is founded in team building. Together we will build on a shared vision of a economically vibrant Washington Township where our families can thrive together. He wants to give back to his community by running for Washington Township Council, leveraging his many years of business experience to bring back Washington Township as the premier community it once was.

Name: Rich Super

Age: 49

Occupation: Owner of ABC Discount Appliances

Political Affiliation: Republican

Clubs/Organizations: Board of Directors of the NJ Better Business Bureau, Our Lady of Hope school board, Coach of Our Lady of Hope’s 4th grade girl’s basketball team, Little League baseball coach, Cub Scout leader, Assistant Scout S.T.E.M. leader.

Why are you running for Washington Township Council?

One of the reasons I am running for council is to protect my two biggest investments: my family and my home. I want to make Washington Township a community that we can afford to live, work and play in. I want Washington Township to be a community where our children, grandchildren and whole family can spend their money here instead of traveling to Voorhees or Cherry Hill.

I want to revitalize the Black Horse Pike and possibly the old Botino’s ShopRite sit to make a town center. I plan to streamline the new business process with a business liaison.

For more information about Richard Super’s plans, visit his website www.richardsuper.com

Name: Andra Pasquarella Williams

Age: 44

Occupation: School Counselor

Political Affiliation: Democrat

Clubs/Organizations: NJEA, WTEA, GCPCA (Gloucester County Professional Counselor Association), NJACAC (NJ Association for College Admission Counseling), Washington Township Democratic Executive Committee, Gloucester County Democratic Committee

Why are you running for Washington Township Council?

I’m a school counselor at Washington Township High School. In my office where I meet with students, I have a white board with a few motivational quotes on it. I’d like to share two of those quotes as they relate to my reason for running for town council and shed some light on who I am.

  1. Positive thinking = Positive outcome
  2. To make a difference in someone’s life, you don’t have to be brilliant, rich, beautiful, or perfect. You just have to care.

While my platform is to bring in businesses, clean up roads, add sidewalks, address abandoned properties, keep taxes down, and improve spending, the drive behind it all is pure and simple…I care. I’m filled with township pride. I believe in our community, our schools, our next generation wanting to live here like we do.

This is my home, my place of work, my alma mater, and the place my husband and I have chosen to raise our three children. In the last 22 years, I’ve served on several school improvement committees, implemented new programs to meet the needs of our children, and worked with administration and local law enforcement to improve school safety.

I won’t shy away from challenges, but I also won’t become consumed with negativity. I believe in the power of positive thinking. I believe that it takes a community working together to raise children and to keep a town safe. I work hard daily to accomplish goals and to help others. I specialize in conflict resolution and look for innovative ways to resolve issues.

For years, Washington Township has set the standards for excellence. I believe in the importance of keeping families and businesses here and bringing in new ones. If elected, I will work diligently to continue to improve what I believe is already a great community.