NORTH BRUNSWICK – Democratic North Brunswick Township Council incumbents Bob Davis and Claribel Cortes will be running for re-election in the November general election. Below is a brief profile ahead of the July 7 primary. There are no challengers listed on the ballot thus far.
Claribel Cortes has lived in North Brunswick for 17 years. She is a media executive with more than two decades of experience in digital and broadcast markets. She is currently completing an executive program at Penn State University in social impact strategy, and will continue on to an MPA.
Cortes is the vice chair of the statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey, where she serves as an advocate for more than 120,000 businesses that call New Jersey home. As an avid runner and marathoner, she volunteers as a head coach for the organization Girls on the Run.
She served on the North Brunswick Board of Education for more than three years. She was the chair of the Community Relations Committee and was part of the Policy Committee.
“During my tenure on the board, the district was able to help close the funding gap by $13 million. While a lot of work still needs to be done, and our community is still unfunded by $19 million, we are in a better position today than we were three years ago,” she said.
Cortes joined the Township Council earlier this year after the passing of longtime Councilman Bob Corbin. She said she is running for election to a three-year term “because North Brunswick has been our family home for 17 years and I want to continue to see our town prosper. I cannot think of a better time to give back and use my professional and community experience to ensure that our town continues to find new innovative ways to ensure that North Brunswick is a great place to live, work and learn,” she said.
Cortes said increased community involvement and communication are two avenues she would like to focus on.
“Now more than ever, we need to focus on unity and connect with our residents on the issues that affect them. Still, it’s not just about conversations, it is also about taking those concerns and taking collective action.
“Previously I mentioned the accomplishments as it relates to funding our schools, and while progress has been made, our school district is still underfunded by $19 million. It’s been proven that fair funding is not an issue just for parents, but for all residents. If we are underfunded, that has a domino effect, so it is vital that we do not ignore it.
“I will continue to work with key stakeholders and ensure our community receives the funding that is due to them. I’m also a big advocate for partnerships and programs. There are a lot of grants that are focused on community-driven initiatives. Finding the right partnerships and grants will help our town find resources for residents of all ages without affecting our fiscal budget.
“Also, the upcoming construction of the train station continues to dominate many conversations within our community. Seeing the completion of our new train station and the main street area will take some time, but it’s a project I will support because it will help bring much-needed revenue and jobs into North Brunswick,” she said.
Robert “Bob” Davis, a resident for 45 years, is the president of RLL Associates LLC, a marketing/advertising company.
He is a veteran, having served with the U.S. Army Reserves with the 11th Special Forces Group, Airborne.
He was first voted to the council in 2002. He has served as council president and vice president, and was a member of the Planning Board for more than 10 years,
During his 18 years on the council, he said his greatest accomplishments include establishing the North Brunswick Veteran Street Naming Project, which has named 80 streets in town after township veterans as of December 2019; initiating the transit village project, which will bring significant revenues to North Brunswick; helping to stabilize municipal taxes; and serving on the North Brunswick Sept. 11 Committee.
He was a charter donor of the North Brunswick Education Foundation and is a member of the North Brunswick Adams Athletic and Social Club.
“My main reason for running again is the same as it has been for the past 18 years, and that is to keep North Brunswick the wonderful community it has become and to help our residents in any way I can. I was brought up to be a person who gives back to the community I live in and I feel I have accomplished that so far and will continue to do that,” he said.
Davis said his three top issues are stabilizing taxes, public safety and diversity.
“Keep taxes as low as possible and continue having all the services that we as residents have. Will look at all line items when we work on the budget to see where there may be areas to cut back on without detriment to our residents.
“Unfortunately, we do not live in a perfect world, but I will continue to make sure we have the excellent police force in town which has lowered all types of crimes and made our residents feel safe.
“Make sure all of our residents are treated the same no matter their race, religion, ethnicity, etc. In the past I had to deal with anti-Semitism and I know what it’s like. I will do everything in my power to make our residents feel comfortable and be proud we all live in North Brunswick,” he said.
Primary Day is July 7. Only select polling places will be open. Voters are encouraged to vote by mail.