Meet the Candidates, Week 2: Evesham Township Council

Get to know the candidates on the Evesham Township ballot.

For the second installment of our three-part Meet The Candidates series, we asked: If elected, what would be your top priorities? How will you keep the lines of communication open with residents?

Jason S. Inglessis and Drew Wilson (Republican)

As members of Evesham Township Council, we will be focused on ensuring that Evesham is a safe, family-friendly, and economically vibrant town, while seeking new opportunities for efficiency and offering a fresh voice for residents. 

We are committed to public safety and we wholeheartedly support the Evesham Township Police Department and the fantastic work that they do for our community. On Council, we would look to ensure that our department has the resources necessary to continue providing professional service while building on its already outstanding community involvement efforts. Furthermore, as parents here in Evesham Township, we are also fully supportive of Evesham’s coordination with the Evesham Township School District, preserving the safest learning environment possible by providing critical School Resource Officer assignments.

Another area of focus for us is the revitalization of business areas here in town. As a critical component of his family’s small business, Jason has seen, firsthand, the economic impact of COVID-19. As we look ahead, it’s concerning to see an increasing number of empty and underutilized business spaces here in town. Losing businesses leads to rising property taxes, something already burdening too many Evesham residents. We believe that Evesham needs a Council that has the understanding and the commitment to proactively attract business back to our town and keep your property tax bill low.  

As fresh faces on Evesham Township Council, we also intend to pursue new and exciting prospects for our town and its future. In fact, we plan to explore opportunities to make Evesham more environmentally friendly, AND save taxpayer dollars, by seeking an increase in the township’s use of renewable energy, and examining the establishment of solar fields here in town. Unlike neighboring towns, Evesham has yet to take full-advantage of this technology. If implemented correctly and responsibly, this can be done with little to no cost to our taxpayers through the use of grants and incentives — lowering township costs while providing a positive benefit to our environment.

Finally, communication with residents is essential to a well-functioning council. If elected, we will keep the lines of communication open by encouraging feedback from residents whenever possible. Additionally, we are committed to answering questions from those we serve and being fully accessible. In fact, we can be reached directly through social media (@WilsonInglessis2020) and via email at contact@wilsoninglessis.com. We look forward to hearing from you!

Ginamarie Espinoza and Eddie Freeman (Democrat)

While we look forward to tackling a variety of policy issues on council, it’s important to keep in mind the perspective we will bring to local government. Every policy initiative we pursue on council will be through the lens of a complete commitment to public service over politics. Both of us have dedicated our lives to serving the public, from the military to working for local residents. We will bring that background to public service and a complete focus on providing results for our residents.  

On Council, we will focus on revitalizing Main Street. Small businesses are the backbone of our town and Main Street should be the economic and cultural center of our community. Not only do we need to revitalize this part of our town, but we need to support the local businesses that have been hit hard by the pandemic. Once on council, we will focus on working with existing businesses to get through the crisis, while also bringing creative development and new local businesses to Main Street. We will invest in sustainable redevelopment, work to establish new public/private partnerships to fund projects that increase accessibility to Main street, and attract new cultural/arts exhibits to Main street.

As councilmembers, we will work with the Mayor and council to keep Evesham safe. This was a year unlike any other, and we got through it by working together as a team. We want to join that team to help prepare Evesham for whatever comes next.  That means making sure our first responders are fully funded and operating at full capacity, keeping our residents informed about any emergency measures in place, working with federal and state governments to maximize funding for local government agencies, and expanding on our Police Department’s community policing initiatives.  

Lastly, we will support our recreation, open space, and programming. These uncertain times have only emphasized the importance of our recreation, open space, and programming to maintain our quality of life. From parks for our families to programs for our seniors, we will focus on helping build a local government that provides a high quality of life for all of our citizens.

We look forward to working on these issues and more in council, and providing results for the residents of our great community. 

Ken D’Andrea and Stephen Fortino (It’s About Evesham)

If we are fortunate to serve the residents and community of Evesham Township, our priorities have four basic pillars:

1. Continue to keep our stable municipal tax rate while maintaining or improving township services. Ken has been able to work with his peers over the past 8 years to successfully keep our municipal tax rate stable. We need to continue to work both sides of the equation of expense and revenue. Shared services with our township partners and our peer townships, public/private partnerships, sustainable energy sources, and improvements with vendor management can further enhance our economic position.

2. We want to maintain and expand our active and passive recreational opportunities for our community. We have been successful at securing grants for a number of recreational projects throughout the township such as the path along Elmwood Road, the Dog Park, and Heritage Village Park and using Open Space and Green Acres funds to secure land throughout the township such as Croft Farm, the Black Run Preserve, and Musulin Farm. We should also focus on safe pedestrian access throughout the township.

3. Grow our revenue stream by using our relationships and bringing new businesses into our township. Consistent revenue streams are important to the economic viability of Evesham Township. We should not depend on the traditional business to support our local economy. We need to continue to support and promote our local businesses and we need to take advantage of incubator and developing businesses, technologies, and advertising streams that can expand our assets.

4. We want to continue to be transparent with our decisions. Ken has always stated that the more knowledgeable community and a more engaged community leads to a more prosperous community. Ken has always influenced the township to use technology to stream township meetings. We want to provide “government 101” sessions to provide insight on the interworkings of our township. While town hall and community meetings have been great, we wish to expand on that concept and, for example, provide learning video vignettes on governmental concepts.

Regarding the question on keeping the lines of communication open the answer is simple as noted with our fourth pillar – be where our community wants us to meet them. In our professional careers, we have been successful at being transparent and using two-way communication to achieve our results. Be open and approachable. Listen. And always act with honesty, humility, and kindness.