NORTH BRUNSWICK – Democratic North Brunswick Township Council incumbents Bob Davis and Claribel Cortes will be running for re-election in the November general election. There are no challengers listed on the ballot.
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 at the BOE, the district was able to help close the funding gap by $13 million and successfully complete our new middle school on time and under budget,” 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.”
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 that 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 that I will support because it will help bring much-needed revenue and local jobs,” Cortes 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.
He said he plans to keep taxes as low as possible, if re-elected, and continue having all the services that are available to residents.
“When we receive the budget, I go though each line item with a fine toothed comb to see where we may be able to make certain cuts that will not hurt the vast majority of our residents. Being one of the original council people to study and vote on bringing a transit village to North Brunswick, I noted the amount of ratables that we would receive and that would help to stabilized the tax rates. We, as a mayor and council, only receive approximately 20% of our tax dollars to run North Brunswick. The vast majority of the dollars go towards education and a sizable amount goes to the county,” Davis said.
Davis also lauded the North Brunswick Police Department, which has lowered all types of crimes and made residents feel safe.
“Unfortunately, we do not live in a perfect world, but I will continue to make sure we have an excellent police force in our municipality. We have lowered all types of crime. I will make sure that we will always keep our residents and our clergy well informed. I have sat down in meetings with the late Director Ken McCormack, Deputy Chief Joe Battaglia, other police brass, officers, clergy and their parishioners, to discuss all matters. We have received so much positive feed back in those meetings. If there is a complaint, our police force follows it through and does not push it ‘under the carpet.’ I want our residents to feel safe,” he said.
In accordance, Davis added, he will “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.”
After serving almost 18 years in the community with his fellow councilman and friend, Bob Corbin, who passed away earlier this year, Davis said “it’s unusual to not have him sitting next to me and discussing different subjects. We definitely did not always agree on all subjects, sometimes hotly, but after listening to each other’s points of view, we ended up doing what we felt was best overall for our residents. He will surely be missed.
“Moving ahead I am extremely confident in my new runningmate, Claribel Cortes. She has an excellent background including serving on our Board of Education. As you read her profile, I am sure you will be confident in electing her to fill Bob’s seat,” Davis said.
Voting regulations for North Brunswick Township:
There is a secure ballot drop box for Vote-by-Mail ballots located at the Municipal Building, 710 Hermann Road, North Brunswick
In accordance with Gov. Phil Murphy’s Executive Order 177, all active voters will be mailed a Vote-by-Mail ballot.
Non-active voters can apply for a Vote-by-Mail ballot at www.nj.gov/state/elections/assets/pdf/forms-vote-by-mail/vote-mail-ballot-middlesex-english.pdf
The ballot may be completed and returned in the following ways or voters can go to their polling location and vote by provisional ballot.
A postcard will be mailed to each registered voter detailing the appropriate polling location.
1. Return your ballot through the United State Postal Service (must be postmarked by Nov. 3, 2020)
2. Submit your ballot in one of the Middlesex County Board of Elections’ drop boxes before 8 p.m. on Nov. 3. The list can be found at www.middlesexcountynj.gov/Government/Departments/CS/Boardofelections/Pages/vote2020.aspx
3. Drop it off directly to the Middlesex County Board of Elections Office, 11 Kennedy Blvd., East Brunswick, before 8 p.m. on Nov. 3.
4. Submit your completed and sealed ballot at your assigned polling location in person on Election Day, Nov. 3. If you do not receive a Vote-By-Mail ballot, damage your Vote-By-Mail ballot, and/or make a mistake, contact the county clerk for a supplemental ballot by calling 732-745-4202.
To track your mail-in ballot, visit https://nj.gov/state/elections/index.shtml
If you prefer to vote in person, you can vote by paper provisional ballot at your polling place.
Polling locations are as follows:
Livingston Park Elementary School, 1128 Livingston Ave., for Districts 4, 10, 12
North Brunswick Township High School, 98 Raider Road, for Districts 2, 5, 7, 11, 13, 15, 18, 19, 21, 24, 25, 27
Linwood School, 25 Linwood Place, For Districts 1, 3, 6, 8, 14, 16
John Adams Elementary School, 1450 Redmond St., for Districts 9, 17, 20, 22, 23, 26
For more information, visit www.middlesexcountynj.gov/Government/Departments/CS/Boardofelections/Pages/vote2020.aspx