By JENNIFER AMATO
NORTH BRUNSWICK — Incumbent Democrat Ralph Andrews will run alongside newcomer Amanda Guadagnino in the North Brunswick Township Council race against Republicans George Callan and Thomas Lichwa, all who will vie for two open three-year terms on the council on Election Day, Nov. 8.
Four-term Democratic incumbent Ralph Andrews, 65, has more than 40 years’ experience in construction, finance, purchasing, design, project management, planning and scheduling. He is the general manager of Patriot Energy in Pine Brook.
Living in North Brunswick for 37 years, Andrews is a volunteer baseball, basketball and soccer coach; executive board member and founding member of the North Brunswick Basketball Association; founding member, executive board member, league contact, coach and past treasurer of the New Jersey Knights Soccer Club; member of the National Soccer Coaches Association; and member of the North Brunswick Township High School Men’s and Women’s Soccer Alumni Association.
He has been a member and liaison to the North Brunswick Planning Board. As a council member, he has served on the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee, the Township Cable Television Advisory Committee and as special advisor to the Planning Board for the Master Plan. He was also on the council committee to review defeated North Brunswick Board of Education school budgets from 2005-08.
He helped form the North Brunswick 2030 Committee to develop plans for making North Brunswick a sustainable, environmentally conscious community. Other accomplishments include saving the Pulda Farm from residential development, establishing North Brunswick Community Park, moving forward with the MainStreetNB transit village property on Route 1 and implementing cost-saving measures throughout town.
If re-elected to the council, Andrews said he will continue to work with the mayor and council to deliver services to residents while looking for ways to keep tax increases in check.
“Changes and positive improvement come from listening to and being responsive to our residents’ questions and concerns. Each year at this time we are all out walking the neighborhoods and speaking to residents. The message I always send is we are here to serve and help you. That is what this mayor and council are committed to.
“We want to continue to improve the quality of life in North Brunswick. So, the message to our residents is if you have a question or concern about anything in town, please reach out to us. We want to hear from you. We have great employees who are responsive. Call any department or call any of us. We will get back to you with a response and work to address your concern,” he said.
Fellow Democratic candidate Amanda Guadagnino, 40, is a lifelong resident of North Brunswick. She works as an office manager for a medical office.
She is currently a member of the North Brunswick Board of Education, co-president of the Judd Elementary School Parent Teacher Organization and director of Membership at Brookside Swim Club in Milltown.
She is running for her first term on the council.
Thomas V. Lichwa, 81, is running on the Republican ticket. A resident since 1972, he previously lived in South Brunswick and around the New Brunswick area.
He retired from a local telephone company in 1992, where he received training for various positions.
He has also spent the past 41 years as a volunteer, committee member and trustee of the board of a New Brunswick-based organization that assists with alcohol and drug addiction. He was president of RUS (Recovery-Unity-Service) Service Corp. and previously served as a coach and president with the Little League organization in South Brunswick and was a Webelos den leader for Boy Scouts.
“One of the things I’d really like to do is get on a committee that deals with education and young people,” he said of his priority of making the future better for his five grandchildren. “A lot of these kids are going to be lost. … Ninety percent of schools have no moral code. … If I can make any dent in that kind of situation, I’d like to do that.”
Lichwa said money needs to be put into education instead of building prisons so that proactive measures can be taken, and county colleges must remain affordable.
“As far as North Brunswick goes, I think we need to be vigilant,” he said. “We have to have ratables keep pace with families moving in so taxes don’t go out of whack.”
He also said that there are not enough good-paying jobs available to keep people in the town and state.
“We should be driving toward that to help our economy,” he said.
Lichwa also wants to be a voice for senior citizens, listening to and addressing their concerns.
“When you’re 81 years old, you look differently at life,” he said. “Senior citizens, they’re left out of the loop.”
Callan could not be reached by press time.
Longtime Councilwoman Catherine Nicola has decided not to run for re-election, citing a lifetime of community service and wanting to provide the opportunity for others to serve.
Contact Jennifer Amato at firstname.lastname@example.org.