Fasano, Berlin seek seat on governing body in Freehold Township

FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP – One Democrat and one Republican are seeking a three-year term on the Township Committee in Freehold Township in the Nov. 5 election.

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

The term of Republican Barbara McMorrow, who is serving as mayor in 2019, will conclude at the end of the year.

McMorrow is not seeking re-election and will complete a long career in public service that saw her serve on the Borough Council in Freehold Borough, the Monmouth County Board of Freeholders and the Township Committee in Freehold Township.

The candidates running for the three-year term on the Township Committee are Democrat Scott Berlin and Republican Maureen Fasano.

Berlin is making his first bid for Township Committee. He has served on the board of the American Diabetes Association Planning Committee for the 2014 Tour de Cure, in addition to volunteering with nonprofit organizations, including Kiwanis and the American Cancer Society.

Most of his recent activism has been in the form of political activism, largely working with the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) community.

While in Arizona in 2014, Berlin helped to organize protests against a bill that would have allowed business owners who asserted their religious beliefs the right to deny service to gay and lesbian customers. Arizona’s Republican governor ultimately vetoed the legislation.

“Freehold Township is a great town, but we need to take action to ensure we stay a great town 10, 30 and 50 years from now,” Berlin said. “We do a great job at fixing yesterday’s problems today, but we should focus on how we make tomorrow even better than today.

“I would only be 28 when assuming office, but I plan on raising a family here and I want them to have the experience of growing up in the best Freehold Township possible.

“That includes focusing on how our residents get to work and around the county, focusing on local business and property taxes, and creating a long-term sustainable plan for the township. It is time the millennial generation has representation in order to bring a more diverse set of viewpoints and challenges to the forefront of Freehold Township,” he said.

In his professional career, Berlin is a business owner who has a political and public relations consultancy and a software development company.

“I know how to negotiate with stakeholders and business partners to put differences aside and get the work done,” he said. “With my consultancy, I have worked with governments and elected officials around the country in order to help navigate the political waters.

“One of my proudest achievements was working in the Arizona Senate when we passed, with bipartisan support, Medicaid expansion to give access to health care for hundreds of thousands of low-income residents.

“Never have I backed down from a cause because it was seen as too difficult,” he said. “Some view the fight to build the Monmouth-Ocean-Middlesex (MOM) passenger rail line as an uphill battle. I believe I am uniquely qualified to be a strong advocate for public transit in Freehold,” he said.

If elected, issues that Berlin said he intends to address include traffic congestion, and transparency and communication with residents.

“One of the most important issues in Freehold Township is traffic congestion,” he said. “Route 9 is a mess and Route 33 will only get worse with continued development. We need to ensure we are working with our neighboring towns, our freeholders and our (state legislators) to move forward on public transit options to reduce our commute times and increase public safety.

“For the past decade, there has been no discussion of building the MOM rail line and as a committeeman, I will make this conversation one of my top priorities.

“We also need to focus on transparency and communication with residents,” Berlin continued. “In 2019, it is untenable that we have no public web portal for planned Department of Public Works maintenance around town so people can easily navigate around construction. We should also be streaming our Township Committee meetings so all residents can watch meetings even if they cannot attend.”

Making her first bid for Township Committee, Fasano is currently a parks and recreation commissioner, a position she has held for 10 years. She chaired the Parks and Recreation Commission for two years.

Fasano was a member of the Freehold Soccer League for more than 25 years as a coach and as a board member for more than five years, served on the Freehold Township K-8 School District’s redistricting and budget committees for more than 10 years, and as a PTO president, among other positions, at the Laura Donovan School, the Barkalow Middle School and Freehold Township High School.

“I am seeking a seat on the Township Committee because I love my hometown and want to help to continue the outstanding work our governing body has done for the past several decades,” Fasano said. “Because I was raised to be socially responsible and a civic minded person, I have always been interested in serving in government.

“I was the first student government president at Barkalow Middle School and served four years on student government in high school, with my senior year being as the student government president,” she continued. “Having adult children, three young men age 25, 23 and 21, and the flexibility of being a small business owner will allow me the time needed to serve my community.”

Fasano co-owns a Farmers Insurance Agency in Freehold Borough with her husband, Eric, which they opened in 2013. She and her husband co-owned an independent insurance agency in Brooklyn, N.Y., that she joined in 1996 and purchased from her father before selling it in 2015.

Prior to working in insurance, Fasano was a special education teacher at Collier High School, Marlboro, where she worked for six years.

“Being a small business owner has given me the ability to manage budgets and to work to help people achieve their needs while supporting the employees we hire,” Fasano said.

“If elected, I would like to continue the work of the governing body in maintaining our great park system and excellent services to our residents,” she said. “I want to work hard so Freehold Township can continue to be a family town.”

Republicans hold all five seats on the Township Committee.