EAST BRUNSWICK–Four candidates are running for two available seats on the East Brunswick Township Council.
Incumbent Democrats Sterley Stanley and Michael Spadafino will face off against newcomer candidates Olga Miller and Suzanne Blum, who are Republicans, for the four-year terms in November. Primary Election Day is July 7.
Blum, 53, was born and raised in East Brunswick, attended East Brunswick Public Schools and is a proud graduate of East Brunswick High School.
“I decided to run for council to give back to the town that has provided the American Dream for my family and [me],” Blum said. “I want to ensure that future generations see East Brunswick as the destination to live, retire and raise their families.”
While working as a school teacher, Blum said she is also an active parishioner of St. Bartholomew Church, where she is a eucharistic minister and former Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) instructor.
She is a committeewoman for the East Brunswick Republican Municipal Committee and has been a member, and has previously served as, the president, vice president and secretary in the East Brunswick Republican Club.
If elected to the council, Blum said, “The first issue I would address is redevelopment. I am advocating for smart redevelopment, with an emphasis on single-family dwellings and mixed-use developments with small businesses. The second most important issue is reducing the property taxes. My goal is to make East Brunswick a more affordable place for families and small businesses alike.”
Miller, 34, has lived in East Brunswick for six years and is currently a global warehousing and logistics leader at Solvay USA Inc.
“I have been fortunate to have a progressive career with a large global chemical manufacturing company, but I have always been interested in politics and recent events have inspired me to get involved within our community,” Miller said.
She is also a member of the East Brunswick Republican Club.
If elected to the council, Miller said, “As a mother and a resident of this amazing town, first, I want to see our parks and playgrounds improved so families can enjoy exploring the outdoors together, and we know how important that is right now. Second, I want to see East Brunswick become a home to more family-friendly businesses and developments to improve the quality of life for generations to come.”
Spadafino, 70, has lived in East Brunswick for 55 years and works as a chiropractic physician.
In addition to serving on the council, Spadafino is on the township’s Redevelopment Commission, the Recreation and Parks Committee and the Museum Committee.
“For nearly 55 years, East Brunswick has not only been my home, but it is in the fiber of my being. From a high school student to a teacher and coach and finally, as a local chiropractor, I am personally invested in East Brunswick and its future,” Spadafino said. “I have been a councilman for nearly seven years, representing all residents and have worked diligently to serve their interests and concerns.
“Mayor Brad Cohen, Stanley and I promised to restore financial stability, redevelop the Route 18 corridor, and maintain the many services that we now enjoy when we ran together four years ago and I believe that we have delivered on our commitment to the residents of East Brunswick,” Spadafino said.
He is also a member of the St. Bartholomew Knights of Columbus and is on the Board of Directors for the East Brunswick Lions Club and the East Brunswick Chamber of Commerce.
If re-elected to the council, Spadafino said fiscal responsibility and commitment to the future are key issues he wishes to continue tackling.
“Cohen, Stanley and I, along with our fellow council members, have worked diligently to hold the line on taxes and to improve services,” Spadafino said. “We have used every tool at our disposal to achieve this. We understand the unique challenges we face during this historic pandemic and are prepared to meet them.
“Over the 55 years of living in East Brunswick, I have seen several transformations of the town. Some were good, others not so good. The vision of Cohen and my fellow council members to revitalize the Route 18 corridor will be a very positive change for our town, bringing in new ratables and businesses to our business district. The redevelopment plan is well underway, and in response, there has been a dramatic increase in new businesses in town,” Spadafino said.
Spadafino said the council has revamped its engineering department to be more responsive to new businesses and re-established a strong Chamber of Commerce, which currently has almost 200 members. Safety is a high priority, and the council has expanded the police force for residents’ protection and security.
Stanley, 53, has lived in East Brunswick for 20 years and works as an independent insurance broker and manager at the South Brunswick Motor Vehicle Agency.
Serving as the current council president, Stanley also is president of the East Brunswick Lions Club and president of the Fox Meadow Condominium Association.
Stanley said he is seeking reelection to continue the work started in 2017 when he was sworn into office with Cohen and Spadafino. The three main concerns residents had at the time were financial stability of the township, the closing of businesses in town and the dilapidated state of the Route 18 business corridor.
“We have come a long way in addressing these issues and challenges we faced. Since I have been in office, we have been able to minimize municipal tax increases to an average of less than 2% each year,” Stanley said. “We have done this while maintaining a very high credit rating. With the cooperation of the business community, we have opened over 300 new businesses in town in the past three years. The township has made assisting these businesses a priority, an effort recognized by the business community.
“Lastly, we re-established the East Brunswick Redevelopment Agency which has worked cooperatively with developers to lay the groundwork for the redevelopment of the Route 18 corridor,” Stanley said. “Plans have been developed, and a redeveloper has been selected to move these projects forward soon. I would like to continue serving the town along with Cohen and Spadafino to complete the projects that have been approved and help secure the financial future of the township moving ahead.”
If re-elected to the council, Stanley said the three issues he wants to continue tacking are fiscal responsibility, commitment to the future and community building.
“Cohen, Spadafino and I are committed to the future of East Brunswick. This process was started back in 2017 with the resurgence of the Redevelopment Agency,” Stanley said. “Residents who were appointed to the agency helped pave the way for redeveloping the Route 18 corridor. Spadafino and I served as members of the agency to help spearhead the movement for a better tomorrow for East Brunswick.”
Stanley said the council is proud of the township’s blue-ribbon schools, and it are committed to maintaining a strong working relationship with the Board of Education.
“East Brunswick is blessed to have a diverse community and our Police Department is years ahead in their community outreach programs. We are fortunate to have men and women on the police force dedicated to protecting and serving our community,” Stanley said. “In the last four years, we have rebuilt and forged a strong relationship with the police department to be united in reaching the same goals for the betterment of our community.”
Contact Vashti Harris at email@example.com.