Four candidates in race for two seats on Keyport Borough Council

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Keyport's waterfront had a clear view of the New York skyline on Feb. 9.

KEYPORT – Four candidates are seeking two three-year terms on the Keyport Borough Council in the Nov. 5 election.

Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The candidates are incumbent Democrats Victoria Pacheco and Delia Sosa McDermott, and Republicans Elmer Graham Jr. and Daniel Fox.

Graham did not respond to requests for comment.

Fox could not be reached for comment.

Asked what she has accomplished during her first term, Pacheco said, “I think we as a council have done a lot of very good things in the past three years. I am most proud of being able to spearhead the dune grass planting project on Cedar Street Beach.

“With the help of the Surfrider, we were able to take out the Asiatic Sedge, an invasive species, and replant native dune grass. The grasses are doing well and have naturally elevated the land over at those dunes, providing protection from sand and water from the park and the surrounding neighbors.

The Surfrider Foundation USA is a nonprofit environmental organization that works to protect and preserve the world’s oceans, waves and beaches.

“While recently we have experienced some issues with the company, I am also proud to have been part of the team that brought LimeBikes to the borough,” Pacheco said.

LimeBikes are electric or pedal bikes that are available for rent in town.

“(The bikes) were fun and helped foster the conversations around using other modes of transportation besides cars in the borough. My happiest day was the first day I saw one at the bus depot. Besides bringing something fun to the residents, I was hoping we could find ways to connect us with modes of public transportation,” Pacheco said.

Pacheco said that with the help of the Police Commission, former councilwoman Sophia Lamberson and members of the Municipal Alliance Committee, the Keyport Road to Recovery (KRR) was initiated.

The program helps members of the community with addictions find the help they need. The KRR has sponsored Narcan training and what Pacheco described as “sober events.”

Asked what she would like to accomplish if re-elected, Pacheco said, “I want to continue to work with the Harbor Commission to find ways to improve our waterfront. We have worked with vendors to provide kayaking and other opportunities to enjoy the water and I want to continue those efforts.

“I also want to put in place a harbor master plan that will not only set out a plan for what I like to refer to as the ‘fun stuff,’ (dock and dine, etc.), but also to shore up our bulkheads to prevent flooding and dredge the harbor.

“I also want to finish the work of setting up the Complete Streets Committee and find projects that make Keyport not only safer, but a desirable place to live, work and play.

“Lastly, I want to continue to work with the police department to ensure we are able to enforce our laws and to help them with what they need to keep us safe, Pacheco said.

McDermott joined the council in January when she was appointed to fill a seat that opened when Collette Kennedy left the council to assume the position of mayor, to which she was elected in November.

Asked what she has accomplished since joining the council, McDermott said she was named liaison to the Keyport Bayfront Business Cooperative (KBBC), Public Works, Construction, Zoning, Property Maintenance, Library, and the Harbor Commission. She has a secondary liaison role to the recreation committee, the senior center, and the police department.

“In my current term, significant accomplishments for Keyport have been accomplished through collaboration, partnership, coordination and planning with fellow council members, Mayor Kennedy, the borough administration, staff, businesses, residents and volunteers throughout Keyport,” McDermott said.

McDermott said she has more than 20 years of corporate leadership and training experience.

“As part of the ongoing protection of our shorelines, I joined and supported Congressman Frank Pallone Jr.’s press conference where his proposed legislation to create a federal grant program assisting states, localities and non-government organizations construct living shorelines was discussed.

“Keyport is proud to actively engage in constructing and nurturing living shorelines such as dune grass and other sustainable barriers along our bayshore beaches. My role with the Harbor Commission enables me to support and build on this and many other initiatives by having smart, environmentally friendly solutions to support safe and fun bayshore water recreational use.

“… I actively participated as a council member and committee/commission member in developing, planning and implementing various highly successful local programs such as the Keyport 5K, the Keyport Snapper Contest and Keyport Summer Camp and Keyport Music Thursdays,” McDermott said.

McDermott said she helped to renovate Veterans Memorial Park and Terry Park, broke ground on Main Street Park to include a new Spohn Ranch skate park, refurbished ballfield, new play structure and exercise stations.

“One of the most recent highlights includes my role as KBBC council liaison. We successfully showcased Keyport as a destination at our second annual Keyport MusicFest on Oct. 12.

“We had over 4,000 festival attendees enjoy a full day of live music … It could not have been done without the partnership and engagement of the Keyport community and volunteers working together moving Keyport forward,” McDermott said.

Asked what her she hopes to accomplish if elected, McDermott said her goal “is to continue making Keyport a wonderful, safe town to live, play and work in.

McDermott said she would strive to make Keyport “a desired destination for visitors and future neighbors.”