Council candidates night on tap Oct. 17 in Lawrence Township

Scott Jacobs

Six candidates for three open seats on the Lawrence Township Council will make their case for election at a candidates night forum, set for Oct. 17 at the Lawrence Township Municipal Building on Route 206.

The forum, which starts at 7 p.m., will be held in the lower level conference room at the municipal building. It is being sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Lawrence Township.

The candidates night will feature the six candidates – Democratic Party nominees Cathleen Lewis, Michael Powers and John Ryan, and Republican Party nominees Robert Pluta, and father-and-son running mates P. J. Vinch III and Joseph Vinch.

Each candidate will offer an opening statement, and then the candidates will take questions from the League of Women Voters of Lawrence Township and attendees. They will wrap up the forum by offering closing remarks.

Lewis and Powers are incumbent Township Council members, and Ryan is a newcomer. Township Councilman David Maffei is not seeking re-election.

Pluta is making his second run for Township Council. P. J. Vinch III and Joseph Vinch are political newcomers. P. J. Vinch III was tapped to run after Eric Jaszewski withdrew his candidacy for personal reasons.

Lewis is seeking her third, four-year term on Lawrence Township Council. She served in the ceremonial post of mayor in 2014 and 2015. She has lived in Lawrence since 2004, and works for the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities in its Clean Energy program.

Powers, who is seeking his fifth term, held the ceremonial post of mayor in 2006 and 2010. He graduated from Lawrence High School in 1986. He is an attorney with the law firm of Buchanan Ingersoll and Rooney.

Ryan is a 34-year resident of Lawrence Township, and recently retired from United Parcel Service (UPS). He serves on the Lawrence Township Planning Board.

Pluta, who owns the Leonardo II restaurant on Brunswick Pike, is making his second run for elected office. He is a 1992 graduate of Lawrence High School.

P. J. Vinch III has lived in Lawrence Township for the past 13 years, and off and on for more than 20 years. He has worked in the construction, environmental and asset management fields, and is now working as a realtor.

Joseph Vinch graduated from Lawrence High School in 2013. He owns Honest Stu’s, which is a pawn shop on Princeton Avenue in southern Lawrence Township.