Two township committee candidates weigh in on election

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When Hillsborough Township residents head to the polls this November, they will be casting their ballots for several races including the school board and general elections.

This year, residents will also have a choice on Nov. 5 in the municipality’s five-person township committee, as democratic candidate Jeffrey A. Wright looks to claim a seat on the committee board against republican incumbent Frank DelCore.

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DelCore has lived in Hillsborough since 2001. He served as mayor in 2009 and 2010, 2013, 2016 and 2019, and as deputy mayor in 2008.

He also served as liaison to the capital planning committee, recreation commission, police, rescue squad, emergency management, economic and business development commission, municipal alliance, historic preservation, planning board, sign review committee and sustainable Hillsborough commission.

He holds an MBA in Finance from Rutgers University Graduate School of Management, along with a B.A. Degree in Communications from Rutgers University.

Wright, has a 25-year career as a financial advisor, successful experience on the zoning board of adjustment, senior citizens housing, and open space committees of Piscataway Township, and currently serves as the treasurer for Bethel Presbyterian Church. He also earned a B.S. in General Business/Finance from Norfolk State University.

In order to provide candidates with an equitable platform to discuss their plans for the township committee, both candidates were given the same questions and the same amount of space for their responses.

Why are you running for a spot on the township committee? What drives you to public service?

DelCore: I believe that my leadership and experience has played a large part in Hillsborough’s outstanding reputation. As a member of the Hillsborough Township committee for the past 12 years, I am extremely proud of my role in driving fiscal responsibility leading to an AA+ credit rating, to actions taken to improve the quality of life for residents such as infrastructure upgrades, open space acquisition and parkland development. I continue to be driven by public service because I want to continue to give back to the community that has been so good to me and my family.

Wright: My mother was a career public school teacher and my father was a union carpenter. They instilled in me a lifelong commitment to public service and to causes greater than themselves. Their values taught me that if you work hard and play by the rules, you should be able to afford to raise your family in a safe community with good schools and retire there.

Other than taxes, what would you say are the most pressing issues facing the township? If elected, how do you plan to tackle those issues?

DelCore: The state’s affordable housing mandates are crippling local municipalities by forcing development in our communities without regard to school capacity, road infrastructure or government services in place to handle the growth. Implementation of affordable housing must be prudent and responsible. Unfortunately, our state legislators have completely abdicated their role in solving this crisis. I have continued to push back on Fair Share Housing and refuse to stop fighting until we have a reasonable plan. I held a town hall meeting in April (available on Hillsborough’s YouTube channel) on the affordable housing crisis we face.

Wright: Mismanaged over development is shredding our community. Tax giveaways to developers are robbing our schools of vitally important funding, forcing cuts to teachers, support staff and busing. Our emergency services are becoming stretched beyond capacity from our exploding population, which is going to have big impacts on public safety. As committeeman, I will oppose tax giveaways to developers and fight the abuse of the PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) programs that have formed the core of this problem.

How would you say you differ from your opponent? Why should voters choose you?

DelCore: I believe experience and results matter. I have a track record of leadership and the experience necessary to continue to move Hillsborough forward as one of the best places to live in America. I make every financial decision with the mindset that the taxpayers come first and taking a business-like approach to spending.  Hillsborough maintains very low debt, and the lowest per capita spend of any surrounding municipality due to the fiscal prudence I have demonstrated. I am quite proud of the work my republican colleagues and I have done on fiscal matters and reducing the municipal tax rate.

Wright: We have known about our housing mandate for over a decade. Mayor Frank DelCore has been on the planning board since 2006 but has done nothing to actually plan for this problem. Now he is scrambling to catch up with 2,400 units rushed through approval in the last two years with thousands more to come. This represents a total lack of foresight. As a financial advisor, I spend every day planning for the future. We have to start looking ahead to ensure our emergency services, infrastructure and schools can handle the coming expansion.

What, in your opinion, makes Hillsborough Township somewhere you want to serve?

DelCore: I have been very fortunate to raise my family in a community such as Hillsborough and that has driven me to want to continue to give back to this amazing town. I have had the great opportunity to meet many local volunteers, coaches, and scout leaders whom devote their time to benefiting our community, small business owners that decide to invest to Hillsborough, and teachers committed to providing an exceptional education to our students. I want to continue to stand alongside these dedicated and selfless community leaders to keep Hillsborough one of the best places to live in America. 

Wright: Like so many of our fellow residents, my wife and I chose Hillsborough as our forever home because we saw it as a wonderful place to raise our family. My son recently graduated Hillsborough High School and my youngest daughter is set to enter kindergarten next September. I am invested in this community for the long haul, and we have to start looking ahead to keep it a great place to live. What is Hillsborough going to look like in another 10 years? With proper planning, I see a thriving, safe and affordable place to call home long into the future.

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