The upcoming Cranbury Democratic primary in June will feature two candidates seeking to secure two open seats on the Township Committee.
The Democratic primary on June 8 is an uncontested race for incumbent Mike Ferrante and Eman El-Badawi, who is competing for her first term on the Township Committee.
The two open seats carry a three-year term. The Township Committee currently has a 3-2 Democratic majority.
El-Badawi graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from Douglass College, Rutgers University. She previously worked in a development biology lab before deciding to devote her time to raising her six children, she said.
Her volunteerism extends to interfaith dialog, outreach and community service, which started at the Interfaith Hospitality Network in Columbus, Ohio.
She now works with Interfaith Rise in NJ, and is a regional coordinator for the Jewish/Muslim Interfaith group, Sisterhood of Salam Shalom, in addition to being a certified speaker and interfaith program manager for NJ-ING, which is an educational organization that aims to promote cultural sensitivity, religious understanding, and tolerance.
Recently, El-Badawi joined the advisory committee at Middlesex College enhancing the employment experience pertaining to diversity, equity and inclusion.
When it comes to her volunteerism in Cranbury she has been involved with the Mayor’s Wellness campaign, has participated in a community workshop by the Economic Development Advisory Committee (EDAC), and the resident review workshop of Cranbury Township’s Master Plan.
El-Badawi is also a member of the Library Foundation.
“I am seeking a first term of holding public office. I ran for Township Committee in 2019 and won a seat in the contested primary elections but fell short in the final elections,” she said. “This is my second attempt at holding my first term in public office, in a position on the Cranbury Township Committee, with endorsement from the Cranbury Democratic Committee.”
El-Badawi said she believes that she represents the Cranbury community with her multi-lingual, multi-ethnic background, and experience as a local entrepreneur and farmer, in addition to being an active mother with children in the Cranbury School system.
“Representation in local governance is critical in establishing and expanding on community relations, which continues to be my primary focus,” she said. “I think it is imperative to thoughtfully engage our residents, especially our youth, as we navigate decisions for the betterment of our community, which must include the preservation of our historical and economic narratives and treasures. Additionally, we must keep a responsible eye on our taxes and township spending. My background, interest and constant service to Cranbury makes me the right candidate for Township Committee.”
Ferrante is pursuing a second term on the Township Committee, as he seeks to move forward from the primary in June towards the general election in November.
He currently is Cranbury’s mayor and has focused during his first term on transparency in local government, improved town-wide communications, and more bike- and pedestrian-friendly streets.
“We’ve installed two lighted crosswalks in town to improve pedestrian safety, and bolstered the Traffic Safety Bureau with the addition of two new police officers. We’ve launched the EDAC to give a fresh perspective on keeping the village area a vibrant, walkable and viable retail zone,” he said. “I also helped to bring the $2.39 million matching grant to Cranbury to help build the freestanding library at the end of Park Place West. Each year, I conduct a session called “De-Mystifying Local Government” to make sure our residents know how to navigate their municipality and beyond.”
Ferrante added that as mayor, he implemented bi-weekly Mayor’s Updates on COVID-19 developments and town events. He also helped build on 2020’s communications campaign to increase subscribers to the township e-news from 600 to more than 2,200 people.
“In 2022 and beyond, we need to make sure everyone feels welcome in Cranbury. That’s why my wife and I continue to organize Porchfest, a rotating summer block party where everyone is welcome and neighbors can meet weekly in the summer,” Ferrante said. “We need to keep taxes as low as possible, keep our debt obligations in check, and defend Cranbury School against consolidation. We’re looking at adding amenities to our major parks, and implementing recommendations from the 2020 bike- and pedestrian-safety grant. Finally, we need to continue to explore ways to make sure that everyone is welcome in town.”
Having grown up in suburban Detroit, Ferrante went on to earn a Bachelor of Science in Engineering and Master of Business Administration degrees from the University of Michigan, and then a Master in Science from Carnegie Mellon University. He has worked in pharmaceuticals for 24 years and currently lead portfolio and resource management for the global regulatory organization in Merck Research Labs.
Ferrante moved to Cranbury in 1998 and with his wife raised two children. He began volunteering in Cranbury starting in 2010 by being elected to the Cranbury Board of Education, then serving as president of the Library Foundation for several years; and serves as the advancement chair for Scouts BSA Troop 52 and and leads a non-profit alumni organization of the University of Michigan.