JAMESBURG – Four candidates are running to occupy two available seats on the Jamesburg Borough Council.
Democratic incumbents Peter Shaughnessy and Sandy Sussman will compete against Republican challengers Brian Taylor and Shannon Spillane for the 3-year terms on the council.
Peter Shaughnessy (D) has been a resident of Jamesburg for 8 years with his wife and two children.
Shaughnessy currently serves as the chairman for the Education Committee in Jamesburg. In addition, he teaches English for the West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District and holds a master’s degree in Educational Leadership.
Before being elected to the council, Shaughnessy served as a member on Jamesburg’s school board. In both roles, he cites community building as his greatest strength.
“I was a member of the school board in Jamesburg before being elected to the Borough Council. In the time I have served on both governing bodies, my greatest strength has been in community building. My greatest accomplishment has been organizing last year’s Halloween celebration, but that answer will change soon, because this year’s Halloween weekend is going to be even better,” Shaughnessy said.
“In town, I helped with the emergency food bank we set up following the flooding from Hurricane Henri in August. In the school district where I work, I am a member of the volunteerism committee. We organize donation drives and fundraisers throughout the year for a number of causes and beneficiaries,” he said.
For Shaughnessy, community service is a major priority as a councilman. If re-elected, he plans on using his experiences, in addition to feedback from the public, to find solutions to problems within Jamesburg.
“I have been useful for building the community in Jamesburg. I have worked hard to be helpful to the borough and to understand the complexities of municipal government. If the good people of Jamesburg hire me back, I will be happy to continue serving, this time bringing more experience and a better understanding of who we are and what we need.
“We have the best people here in Jamesburg, and the outpouring of support and generosity from the community to help those most in need, in their time of need, shows the character of Jamesburg,” Shaughnessy said.
Furthermore, in the future, Shaughnessy said he hopes to honor Jamesburg by creating a center dedicated to the arts, culture and history of the borough.
“One long-term goal is to properly celebrate and showcase the history of Jamesburg. The Buckelew House, or Lakeview Mansion, is uniquely situated to become an Arts, Culture and Historical Center. This would be a meaningful addition for our community. We have started the process with initial funding, and we’re going after more grants. In the next year, we expect to establish an arts and culture fund for Jamesburg,” Shaughnessy said.
One immediate and major issue in Jamesburg, severe flooding, is also on Shaughnessy’s agenda. Recent storms and failing infrastructure have devastated many residents, resulting in property damage and public frustration.
Shaughnessy said that, “Flood recovery is our first priority. We are looking to make the smart and necessary investments in our infrastructure. We will continue aggressively pursuing federal and state funds for undertaking water and traffic management solutions.”
In addition, Shaughnessy also plans to focus on the upcoming cannabis dispensary referendum.
“One immediate plan is to honor the results of the referendum. This year, Jamesburg voters will be given the opportunity to vote on whether they would like to allow a cannabis dispensary within the borough. It’s a non-binding referendum, but I will respect the results of the referendum by seeking to pass a law that matches the will of the voters,” he said.
Shannon Spillane (R) could not be reached for comment by press time.
Sandy A. Sussman (D) has lived in Jamesburg for 36 years with his wife, Brenda, and they have six grown children.
He currently works as a manager at Wawa.
He was a founding member of the Jamesburg Baseball Association and served as a board member and coach from 1995 to 2008. He was appointed to Monroe Township’s Strategic Planning Committee and served from 2006-09. While there, he said focused on improving diversity. From 2010-13, he also served on the Land Use Board in Jamesburg.
In 2013, Sussman was elected as a Jamesburg councilman for a three-year term. He is now completing his third consecutive term.
While in office, he has served in many different committees and roles.
“Throughout my tenure, I have served as council president twice, including currently. I have also served as chairman of the Education Committee, member and chairman of the Finance Committee, member and chairman of the Police Committee, chairman of the DPW (Department of Public Works) Committee, as well negotiating contracts with said committees,” Sussman said.
Sussman said if he is re-elected, he plans to build upon the foundation he and his fellow council members have established by serving the community.
“The job is not done, and I feel with the current council, we can succeed in enhancing what’s good, continue existing efforts to bring to fruition what’s important to Jamesburg residents, and taking on new projects that look to the future of our town. Mostly, I enjoy advocating for my fellow residents and children of Jamesburg,” Sussman said.
For Sussman, the biggest improvements revolve around fixing infrastructure, creating more businesses, and investing in the culture and history of Jamesburg.
“Investing in infrastructure through pursuit of state and federal funds, for water and traffic management solutions. Revitalize Railroad Avenue by working with existing businesses to find additional success, as well as diligently work to bring more businesses to Jamesburg. We are actively pursuing grants and a referendum to establish an arts and cultural fund for the Borough of Jamesburg. An integral part of our history is of course the Buckelew House, which we will continue to renovate,” Sussman said.
Brian Taylor(R) could not be reached for comment by press time.