FREEHOLD – Democrat Kevin Kane and Republican Mary Ann Earle are seeking a four-year term as mayor in Freehold Borough in the Nov. 5 election. Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The term of Democratic Mayor Nolan Higgins will conclude at the end of the year. Higgins is not seeking re-election.
Earle serves on the board of Collier Youth Services, a nonprofit organization for at-risk youth; the Old Tennent Cemetery Board of Trustees; and the Order of Malta, a laity religious group whose mission is to help the sick, poor and homeless.
She is a 30-year member of the Freehold Center Partnership (Downtown Freehold). Previously, she served on the Planning Board for four years and was a member of a subcommittee assigned to write ordinances dealing with signs, storefront facades, awnings and fluorescent lighting.
“I have spent much of my adult life being involved in civic organizations,” Earle said. “Living in Freehold Borough has allowed me to give back to a community I truly love. Improving the quality of life for our residents is important, but we can only get there by revitalizing our economy in every part of the borough.
“I am seeking the borough’s vote for mayor because I believe I can work with our town in making that happen,” she continued.
Professionally, Earle is the co-founder of the Earle Companies, a construction business she started with her late husband, Walter, in 1968. The business is now being run by their sons, Walter II, Thomas and Michael. She is also a registered nurse with a specialty in psychiatry, holding a degree in nursing from Seton Hall University.
“I am a registered nurse with a specialty in psychiatry and a key figure in my family’s business, which my husband and I built from the ground up,” she said. “This business background can serve my tenure as mayor by bringing people together to work toward positive results in our community.”
If elected, Earle said she intends to address the issues of revitalization, parking and better support for the borough’s Code Enforcement Department.
“Freehold Borough has suffered from a lack of innovative ideas and we are stagnant,” she said. “The borough needs new, fresh ideas and we need to put them on the front burner – revitalization, parking and better support for our Code Enforcement Department are all areas that need to be addressed and re-evaluated. One of my first projects will be the revitalization of the rug mill area and other neglected areas of our town.”
Kane has been a member of the Borough Council since 2002. During his time on the governing body, he has chaired the Finance Committee and the Public Safety Committee.
“I have had the honor of serving on the council and working to bring positive change and growth for Freehold,” Kane said. “I believe I can better contribute to the continued progress of our community as mayor. Being a lifelong resident of Freehold Borough, I understand the value of being part of an engaged community.
“The complexities of today’s municipal government requirements demand the experience and education I can provide,” he continued. “I have the vision to blend our rich history with the modern innovation necessary to move Freehold Borough forward.”
In his professional career, Kane is the director of community development in Marlboro, which encompasses several interrelated municipal divisions including engineering, planning, zoning, construction code enforcement and fire prevention, and he provides technical support to the Department of Public Works and Recreation.
He previously worked as the assistant director in the Office of Tax Abatement and Compliance for Jersey City, which worked with developers, builders and labor unions to ensure regulatory compliance on large construction projects in the city.
“I am also a qualified purchasing agent in the state,” Kane said. “This certification, combined with my prior financial background in the private sector, provides the ability to find new and innovative ways to cut costs and save taxpayers money. My vast experience in municipal government, coupled with my Master of Public Administration degree from Rutgers University, has allowed me to develop the knowledge, communication and leadership skills necessary to become mayor.”
If elected, Kane said he intends to address controlling property taxes, smart redevelopment, parking and traffic control, fair and equal school funding, and civic engagement.
“The 17 shared government services and purchasing agreements we initiated have reduced costs and we will continue to find additional ways to control our property taxes,” he said. “Our beautiful and historic downtown is our prized asset and we have used creative funding opportunities and smart redevelopment plans to preserve and enhance it.
“We will implement a rational parking and traffic plan developed by the governing body, residents and business owners that will benefit everyone and promote economic growth in our downtown.
“We will continue to work with the Freehold Borough school district and state legislators for fair and equal funding for our schools. Our efforts have currently yielded $4.9 million in additional aid. By empowering more residents to understand government functions through personal experiences, we are making sure everyone’s best ideas are heard as we all champion the vision for ‘Our Hometown.’ “