HOWELL – Robert Nicastro and Pauline Smith, two members of the Howell Township Council, will not seek re-election in 2018. Neither candidate filed a nominating petition at the April 2 deadline.
Nicastro said, “After serving on the council for two terms (eight years), I have decided not to seek re-election. It has truly been an honor to serve on the governing body for the past eight years. It was a tough decision for me to not seek re-election, but one I made only recently. Becoming an ’empty nester’ with my youngest son off to college, it’s the right time for me. I want to take some time to embark on and embrace the next chapter of my life.”
He said his journey would not had been possible without the support of his family and “too many people to name,” adding he will always be thankful for the opportunity to serve the community.
“I am very proud of so many things I have been able to accomplish with my fellow council members. Howell has come a long way over the past 10 years. I am grateful for the opportunity to learn so much about municipal government because I believe local government has some of the biggest challenges and the biggest impact on people.
“I was fortunate to work alongside some very dedicated volunteers of the community, staff and police department (employees) who deserve more credit than they sometimes get for providing a quality of life we all enjoy from living in Howell,” Nicastro said, adding that he plans to remain active in politics and the community.
Smith said she decided not to seek re-election so she can spend time with her family. Her involvement in public life goes back many years and began when she was attending meetings of the governing body and her fellow residents were asking her to speak up for them about local issues.
“I told them if I understood (the issues), I would (speak up for them), but I told them they would have to stand up with me to confirm and verify I was speaking for them and I did, and pretty soon people wanted me to run for election and that is how I got started back in the late 1980s,” she said.
Smith said serving in public office is “part of her life.” She said she invested time and money to educate herself so she would know “what was going on and how things needed to be done legally and factually” to take care of a municipality.
“So that is why I have kept running, but it is difficult for me to get to meetings, it is a lot of work. I invest a lot of my time, I have given a lot of my time, and I want to give some time just for my husband and my family after all these years,” said Smith, who will turn 75 during the summer.
“For the last 30 years, I have worked for the people of Howell, either elected or appointed. I have done this because I feel very strongly about people’s rights,” the councilwoman said.
Smith said she never considered herself political because she believes she represented the people.
“I was raised with this affirmation that everybody has rights and everybody should stand up for those rights, but everybody should also work them,” she said, adding, “like they used to say, somebody has to take care of the roads.
“I realized (after) I went to a few meetings that the people on the governing body were controlling the way of life in Howell and that was a big concern and is a big concern of mine,” Smith said. “They talk about our homes as financial investments … I never have thought of my home or anyone else’s home that way. It is your home, it is your life, it is not just a financial investment. This is home. This is my life.”