Meet the Candidates: Mt. Laurel Township Council

Get to know the candidates on the Mt. Laurel ballot.

 

Name: Karen Cohen

Occupation: Retired

Political Affiliation: Democrat

Clubs/Organizations: Mt. Laurel Board of Trustees Board Member-Treasurer, Mt. Laurel Friends of Library, Mt. Laurel Green Team volunteer, Mt. Laurel Democratic Club, Rutgers Environmental Stewards, Past Burlington County CONTACT, Past Municipal Alliance Chair, Past Board Member Site Planning Review and Advisory Board, Mount Laurel Democrats

Why you are running for election?
I am running for election because I have been very involved in community organizations in Mt Laurel since moving here in 1995. With my background as a Board Member of various organizations such as school PTOs, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Burlington County CONTACT and through the Mt Laurel Library Friends Group I have experience with running organizations and finding common ground with members of our community at all age levels. My service as Library Trustee has given me experience in municipal government and is a role I proudly serve since our Library is a true gem. I am especially interested in environmental issues and I know many residents contend with serious stormwater issues such as flooding. Many residents are concerned about the loss of so much open space in our town and the congestion and traffic. I know that COVID-19 has taken a serious toll on the health and welfare of our community. I want to bring about solutions to these issues and serving on Council is how I can effect positive change. 

 

Name: Irwin Edelson

Occupation: Branch Manager of a national plastic distribution and fabrication company

Political Affiliation: Republican

Clubs/Organizations: Fall Festival Committee, Planning Board, Former Zoning and MUZ Board member

Why are Irwin Edelson, Kurt Folcher and Sandra Pratt running for election?
Irwin Edelson, Kurt Folcher and Sandra Pratt have dedicated themselves to our local community for decades and have worked to make Mt. Laurel a great place to live and raise a family. As a result of their hard work and our diverse community, Mt. Laurel was recently named the 16th best town in the U.S. to live in by Money Magazine: The team of Mayor Irwin Edelson, Councilman Kurt Folcher, and Sandra Pratt want to keep it that way. In order to achieve this, Mt. Laurel must be led by knowledgeable leaders who understand local government who have no allegiance to party bosses or political party. 

Mt. Laurel is always evolving. While Mayor Edelson and Councilman Folcher have successfully kept local taxes stable, brought in new businesses, preserved more open space, met State affordable housing mandates, and have improved services, parks, and recreation within the town, there is much more to be done. Sandra Pratt admires the selfless dedication, hard work, and compassion that Mayor Edelson and Councilman Folcher have exhibited and wants to be a part of this team. Sandra has a strong desire to give back to the community and will lend her experience as an educator and volunteer to assist in moving Mount Laurel forward.

As an experienced team with a sense of community, Edelson, Folcher and Pratt will focus on the continued revitalization of Rancocas Woods, will fight over development, push State officials to support improved roadways and interchanges and to fund State mandates, and continue to improve our local roads and parks, all while maintaining a commitment to a stable local tax rate. We believe experience matters. More importantly we reject the partisan political bitterness and are committed to ensuring Township staff are qualified professionals instead of unqualified politicos. Our team is the independent team not beholden to political party. We believe that we are the most qualified candidates running for Council and hope that we have earned your vote.

 

Name: Kurt Folcher

Occupation: VP, Retirement Services, Princeton Financial Partners

Political Affiliation: Republican

Clubs/Organizations: Ramblewood Networking Group, Green Team, Former Planning, Zoning, Library Board member, Mt. Laurel Recreation Basketball Coach, former lacrosse and baseball coach.

Why are you running for election?
See the ticket’s joint response under Irwin Edelson’s entry.

 

Name: Fozia Janjua

Occupation: Director of Governance at CommUNITY SJP

Political Affiliation: Democrat

Clubs/Organizations you belong to:  Mount Laurel Democrats

Why you are running for election?
I’m running for council because I want to serve the town I love and unite my community.  I’ve always had a passion for community service. I’ve worked, volunteered with and advocated for the marginalized members of my local community for as long as I can remember. I worked with the homeless elderly, inner city kids, abused animals, and have even taught prisoners at a state facility. My past experiences allow me to see people’s humanity even when I disagree with their perspective. I’m a founding board member of a local nonprofit and have a lot of experience uniting people for a common goal.

Issues that I want to work on in Mt. Laurel, are preserving our open spaces, environment, small businesses and lessening the town’s burden due to COVID-19. Now more than ever, our community needs the support of its leaders. Government should be inclusive, transparent, empathy based and representative of the people it serves. Our team is an accurate representation of Mt. Laurel.

 

Name: Nikitas Moustakas

Occupation: Attorney

Political Affiliation: Democrat

Clubs/Organizations you belong to: Hellenic Federation of New Jersey, Mt. Laurel Democrats, Greek American Chamber of Commerce, Union League of Philadelphia

Why you are running for election?
I am a first-generation immigrant from Greece. Facing life threatening health issues as an infant, my family sought treatment in the United States. My parents instantly fell in love with America and decided to pack our belongings and move from the island of Milos, Greece, to Philadelphia. Sadly, at the age of 18, my father suddenly passed away, making me the operator of our family diner in Philadelphia. I had to learn how to operate the business and cook, all while attending Temple University full time, and subsequently attending law school and business school. Shortly after finishing law school, I turned to practicing law full time, which I have done for the last 20 years.  For the last 10 years, my wife and I proudly call Mt. Laurel home. We have three beautiful daughters, ages 8, 10, and 11, all of whom attend Mt. Laurel public schools.

Though I faced numerous challenges throughout my life, I have been fortunate to achieve success professionally and personally, and now I want to give back to our community.   I am running for Mt. Laurel Council because I believe our local representation should be filled with the energy and vigor needed to tackle our local concerns, not complacent representatives who provide the bare minimum. We need council members that will protect our parks and open spaces, while championing the business growth that benefits our community. We need leadership that will represent all members of our diverse community and have the real-world experience to make positive changes happen.

 

Name: Sandra Pratt

Occupation: Retired Educator

Political Affiliation: Republican

Clubs/Organizations: SALT (Senior Adults Living Triumphantly)

Why are you running for election?
See the ticket’s joint response under Irwin Edelson’s entry.