Three candidates seek two one-year terms on Eatontown council

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EATONTOWN – Three candidates are running for two one-year unexpired terms on the Eatontown Borough Council in the Nov. 5 election.

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

The candidates are Republicans Edwin Palenzuela and Mark Regan Jr., and Democrat Renata Bodner.

Palenzuela and his wife moved to Eatontown in 2002. He has been a paralegal with the law firm Dughi, Hewit and Domalewski, PC, for 23 years.

“I am running for council because I want to bring back civility, direction and team leadership across party lines. I believe I have the ability to work with fellow council members to identify issues affecting Eatontown, address these issues efficiently and, through consensus-building, help resolve them to benefit residents.

“I moved to Eatontown in 2002 with my wife, Sharyn, whose family has been a part of Eatontown for generations. We are proud to raise our two sons … in Eatontown because of the town’s close-knit community feeling. I want to ensure all families can experience this as well.

“As a member of the council, I want to work with my fellow council members to strengthen and expand the borough’s economic development and support for small business so as to reduce the tax burden on resident taxpayers.

“I also want to work with the borough administration to audit our budget to eliminate wasteful spending and develop/implement strategies to make government services more efficient.

“Another goal of mine is to work hand-in-hand with local service organizations to develop projects to benefit residents, such as a sensory path for visually impaired children and the construction of an inclusive playground for use by all children,” Palenzuela said.

Asked why he is running for council, Regan said, “I am running to attract young professionals and families to Eatontown, provide fiscal accountability, and to eliminate waste affecting our citizens’ tax dollars. Young millennial professionals are fleeing our community at an alarming rate in search of more opportunities and a higher quality of life.

“It is indicative of the mass departure of New Jersey residents. All of us have seen firsthand the challenges Eatontown has faced in the last decade. The closing of Fort Monmouth hit our community hard, resulting in a huge dip in our local economy and an (under-populated) school district at risk of losing more and more state funding. On top of that, we are being led by a council that is irrefutably damaging Eatontown both legislatively and financially.

“I am personally mortified by the political infighting, misinformation meant to purposely mislead the public, and the toxic environment our current council has let fester. I grew up in Eatontown, I am a proud product of our fine school system, I currently serve on the Eatontown Public Schools Board of Education, and have been active in my community since the day I moved to town.

“In all of my young 25 years, I have never seen such disregard for a community in turmoil by officials representing our town. This is not politics as usual, this is something much more hideous.

“The easy answer for myself and my contemporaries is to just leave, but I choose to stay because I love my hometown. My running mates and I will continue to fight for the residents of Eatontown and we humbly ask for their vote,” Regan said.

Bodner and her husband have lived in Eatontown for 14 years. She works in town as a software engineer/developer.

“I am running for council to give residents a voice. Over the last few years we have seen a change in town. Many people have expressed disappointment over what they perceive to be a lack of transparency and limited opportunity for residents to provide input.

“An example of this would be in 2016-18 when Borough Council and Planning Board hearings on the Monmouth Mall project were held and the public was afforded time to speak. However, it seemed as though no one was listening. I believe we can do better.

“As a native of South America, I have a keen appreciation for life in the United States. I believe this truly is a place where all people have the opportunity to work to make their community a better place for their families. This is best accomplished by having a council that works with residents.

“My goal as a councilwoman would be to maximize the use of technology to connect the borough with the people who live here. By bringing residents into the process and actually listening to what they are saying, we can truly restore representative government to Eatontown,” Bodner said.

Democrats Al Baginsky and Tonya Rivera, and Republicans Kevin Gonzalez and Maria Grazia Escalante are running for two three-year terms on the Borough Council. They are profiled in a separate article.

Republican Joseph Olsavsky and Democrat James David are running for a two-year unexpired term. They are profiled in a separate article.