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Local business owner fills Ward 1 council seat in Woodbridge

WOODBRIDGE – The Township Council appointed Sharon McAuliffe, a local business owner, to fill the Ward 1 council seat left vacant after the sudden passing of Ward 1 Councilwoman Nancy Bader-Drumm on Jan. 2.

The Woodbridge Democratic Organization submitted three nominees for the council to select from. The other nominees included Jay Barcellona and Robert Minkler, according to Woodbridge Township Clerk John Mitch.

Councilman-at-Large Gregg Ficarra nominated McAuliffe and Councilman-at-Large Kyle Anderson seconded her nomination at a meeting on Jan. 18.

“Sharon McAuliffe is a lifelong resident of Woodbridge like our best friend Nancy Drumm,” Ficarra said. “She has a strong tie to the Woodbridge Fire Department through her father Tom and her family. She’s a local business owner with a long history of support of local charities and township events. She was Nancy’s best friend and confidant. She regularly attended township functions with Nancy. I believe her skills and experience will serve her well as councilwoman in the first ward.”

Anderson said he has been a daily customer of McAuliffe’s at her business Knot Just Bagels on Main Street since she opened in 2003.

McAuliffe’s business is expected to reopen soon at 93 Main St. She had to relocate from 10 Main St. in July 2020 after the property owner sold the land for the construction of a seven-story apartment building.

“Sharon’s passion for our downtown business district, our schools, our children and neighborhoods in general is amazing,” he said. “Sharon’s generosity to the community is second to none as she would continuously donate food to various organizations, clubs and schools without question.”

Anderson added his daughter worked her first job at Knot Just Bagels.

“[Sharon] gave her the real-life supporting experience every parent should hope for their child to have,” he said.

Anderson said it’s only fitting for McAuliffe to fill the role in honor of her friend.

McAuliffe was sworn in not only with her family by her side but also with Bader-Drumm’s husband Hugh Drumm.

“Wow, this is an unexpected road I’m about to travel,” she said, trying to compose herself. “Being best friends with Nancy, we shared many of the same values and now being voted in as councilwoman is the greatest honor I could have in her memory. Nancy made an amazing impact on so many of our lives and loved this town.”

McAuliffe said she will do her best to follow Bader-Drumm’s vision and to serve the constituents of Woodbridge and Sewaren.

“I look forward to working alongside my councilmates, administration and all departments within the township to carry on Nancy’s legacy while developing my own path to serve my constituents,” she said.

All the council members and members of the administration welcomed McAuliffe on the dais.

Mayor John E. McCormac said he has seen McAuliffe in action at all the events serving the community.

“What you do for this community is amazing,” he said.

And although Bader-Drumm is irreplaceable as the glue of the council, McCormac said he believes McAuliffe will do a fantastic job with what she has learned over the years from Bader-Drumm, who loved helping people.

He added having Hugh Drumm stand with McAuliffe and her family as she was getting sworn in “speaks volumes about the support that the Drumm family will have for you taking over Nancy’s spot.”

McAuliffe will serve the Ward 1 council seat until the November election.

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