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Democrats oust two Republicans to win seats on Fair Haven Borough Council

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FAIR HAVEN – Democrats Meghan Chrisner-Keefe and Michael McCue will join the Fair Haven Borough Council in January after defeating incumbent Republicans Johnathan Peters and Jacqueline Rice in the Nov. 5 election.

The current members of the council are Peters, Rice, Councilwoman Susan A. Sorensen, Councilman Christopher Rodriguez, Councilwoman Elizabeth Koch and Councilman James Banahan.

As of Nov. 11, in the race for the two three-year terms, Chrisner-Keefe received 1,004 votes and McCue received 932 votes. Peters garnered 602 votes and and Rice collected 542 votes. The results are unofficial until they are certified by Monmouth County.

On Nov. 6, Chrisner-Keefe said, “I think this (victory) shows people using their voice to show what they want. This is what democracy looks like … Obviously (McCue and I) are very pleased with the results.”

Earlier this year, despite pushback from residents, members of the Fair Haven Planning Board approved an application that proposed the opening of a Dunkin’ Donuts shop in a retail plaza at 560 River Road.

During the board’s consideration of the application, residents asserted that fast food establishments of any kind are prohibited in Fair Haven and voiced their displeasure with the idea of such an establishment in town.

Chrisner-Keefe was one resident who spoke out against the application.

Asked if her opposition to the Dunkin’ Donuts could have inspired residents with similar views to head to the polls, Chrisner-Keefe said, “I think people were interested in that topic. I think (the matter) brought more participation and activism to our borough. I’m thrilled with that. I think people should be involved in local government.

“… Dunkin’ was (the town’s) hot button issue … I think that’s just one of many issues and concerns that brought people out and made people more aware of what is going on in our town,” Chrisner-Keefe said.

She said the opening a Dunkin’ Donuts was not the only concern that could have inspired voters to participate in the Nov. 5 election.

Chrisner-Keefe said the municipality’s third round affordable housing settlement and the renovation of borough facilities are other concerns that may have influenced people to vote.

“There has also been an influx of new families to Fair Haven that have been paying attention and want to participate” in borough matters,” Chrisner-Keefe said.

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