O’Brien halts re-election bid for Sayreville mayor as wife battles cancer

Scott Jacobs

SAYREVILLE – With service to the borough that spans two decades, Sayreville’s longest-serving mayor will not seek re-election in 2019.

Mayor Kennedy O’Brien announced in a Facebook post on March 20 that he would not be seeking re-election for this year’s mayoral race.

O’Brien has served five four-year terms as mayor since 2000 and is the only mayor to serve five terms. His current term, which began in 2016, will end in December.

O’Brien initially joined the Borough Council in 1995 to fill a one-year, unexpired term and was elected to a full three-year term in 1996 for a total of 25 years on the governing body.

Under Sayreville’s form of government, the mayor serves a four-year term. Members of the Borough Council serve a three-year term.

“I am a very lucky man,” O’Brien said. “This is my 20th year as mayor and it has been my high honor and privilege to have been given the responsibility to serve all the citizens of Sayreville. We have built a wonderful community we all call home.”

In making the decision not to seek a sixth consecutive term, O’Brien stated that his wife, Janice, has been diagnosed with cancer.

“Thirty-two years ago, my wife Janice and I, the love of my life, exchanged vows,” the mayor said. “She has been by my side at every step, supporting and encouraging me. She has served as the First Lady of Sayreville with style, substance and grace. As we all know, life takes unexpected turns, and she recently was diagnosed with cancer, and is about to begin chemo and radiation therapy.

“Even in the face of adversity, Janice encouraged me to run again this year for re-election,” he continued. “At this moment, however, my place is by my wife’s side, and I will sit out this re-election term. My only focus must be on the health of my wife.”

While O’Brien will not be campaigning for a new term in 2019, he stated he intends to run again for mayor.

“It is my intention, once Janice is cancer free, to return in four years and ask the people of Sayreville for their continued support,” O’Brien said.

The mayor concluded his comments by thanking the residents of Sayreville for their support.

“I thank all the citizens of Sayreville for your faith, trust, and support you have granted me these past 20 years, it has been one of my life’s greatest honors, and a very warm and humbling experience,” O’Brien said. “I also thank you for your continued prayers for Janice.”

The mayoral term on this year’s ballot will run from 2020-23.

Contact Matthew Sockol at msockol@newspapermediagroup.com.