MATAWAN – In November, Republicans Melanie Wang and Charles Ross each won their first three-year terms on the Matawan Borough Council.
They joined the council in January and now, after a month in office, they have told the Independent they are ready to help start creating a better future for the borough.
The Borough council had a 6-0 Democratic majority prior to the victories by Wang and Ross. Their wins have given Republicans a voice in municipal government.
The two newcomers joined Democrats Brian Livesey, Brett Cannon, Deana Gunn and Stephanie Buckel on the governing body.
Wang, who is a 20-year resident of the borough, is a practicing New Jersey attorney with three decades of experience.
For five years, she served with the New Jersey Judiciary as a mediator for the Monmouth County Superior Court. During that time, she said, she settled 78% of the 900 cases she received.
Wang said she believes her background in mediation and problem-solving will be an asset to the council moving forward.
“My input and ability to devise solutions to even the toughest of matters will be invaluable to help resolve issues Matawan is facing or may face in the coming years while I serve on council,” she said.
Ross has lived in Matawan for 17 years. He has been involved in the financial sector for 30 years and said he plans to implement his knowledge of fiscal responsibility to benefit the borough.
“With that experience I will bring my knowledge of interest rate movements, fundamental economics and budgeting to the people of Matawan,” Ross said.
The 2021 election was Ross’s second run for a council seat. After falling short in his first bid for public office, the new councilman said he is ready to share his perspective to create a more prosperous Matawan.
“I feel fresh ideas and a different perspective is what Matawan needs to move forward and prosper,” Ross said.
Wang had never sought political office prior to her victory in November 2021. She said she was initially hesitant to place her name on the ballot, but was encouraged to run for a council seat by members of the Matawan Republican Committee.
“This is the first time I have ever run for any political office. I was approached by several members of the Matawan Republican Committee and urged to run for the vacant seat in the general election. I am not sure why I was selected, but believe me, it was no easy feat for them to convince me to run,” Wang said.
Wang and Ross said they hope to move Matawan forward by using their respective backgrounds as building blocks for their service to the community as elected officials.
For Ross, the process will begin with budgeting and debt reduction. He said he will be motivated by doing what is best for Matawan.
“My goal is to reduce outstanding debt, lower the tax rate and (advocate for) smart development that brings in local business that can thrive. We will do what is best for the residents of Matawan,” he said.
Wang said communication and community involvement are two essential requirements for steady improvement.
The new councilwoman sees her role as an elected official as one of serving the community effectively and said she needs residents to voice their concerns and get involved.
“One of my goals is to ensure the residents of Matawan will be heard. However, they must attend council meetings to ask their questions and express their concerns and ideas.
“As an official elected by the people, their input did not stop at the voting booth. I need their involvement to help me do my utmost to represent them.
“We should all strive to make Matawan not only a nice place to live in Monmouth County, but one of the best places to live in all of New Jersey. We need everyone’s cooperation to make this a reality,” Wang said.