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Democratic candidates face Republican challengers for North Brunswick Township Council

NORTH BRUNSWICK – The November ballot will see Democratic incumbents face Republican challengers as they vie for the two, three-year terms available for the North Brunswick Township Council.

Democratic incumbents Amanda Guadagnino and Ralph Andrews will face Republican candidates Robert Saphow and Prem Kankanala.

Andrews is seeking his seventh term and Guadagnino is seeking her third term.

The North/South Brunswick Sentinel sent out an election questionnaire for candidates to fill out. Below are the candidates who responded.

Democratic candidates

Andrews, 71, has lived in North Brunswick for 43 years. He is widowed with two adult children and one grandson.

Education: Attended Middlesex County College evenings and weekends in the accounting program and the Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Refrigeration Design Associate Degree program to reinforce and supplement professional experience.

Profession: Service manager for Delta Connects East, N.Y., N.J. and Eastern Pa.

In the community: Youth sports volunteer with baseball, basketball and as soccer coach.

On Council, I served again as liaison to the Planning Board and was on the Council Water Plant and System Improvement Committee. We completed the change out of 12,000 township water meters and installed an area wide communication system to read all meters in real time.

We implemented “Water Safe” software so residents can see their water usage and be notified if they have a leak.

I was also Council liaison to our team of Administration members, our township attorney, township engineer, and other professionals that wrote an RFP (request for proposal) and vetted a new operator for our Water Plant Utility. This resulted in a new 20-year contract for operations of the North Brunswick Township Water Plant.

Why are you running for a seat for Council? The main reason is to continue to help our residents. I have said many times our mayor, his administration, all our directors and the Township employees, our Police Department, and the members of this Council, are here to serve our residents. We are all here to help. We ask you to reach out to any of us with any questions or needs related to our services. It is why we are here. If we don’t hear about a problem we can ‘thelp. That is why it is important to let us know how we may help.

What is one area you would like to concentrate on if elected? To continue our road and infrastructure improvements like the Livingston Avenue improvement project. To work with Middlesex County to complete the Train Station Transit Village Plan, and site improvements. Also work with Middlesex County on our suggested East/West road improvements we have noted in our master plan.

To continue as liaison to the North Brunswick Township Planning Board for review of the continued build out of the North Brunswick Transit Village project. Getting the revised plan for the municipal building completed and starting construction of the repairs and revisions. Getting the municipal building reopened after the severe hurricane damage it suffered and giving our seniors a better Senior Center.

Guadagnino, 46, is a lifelong resident of North Brunswick. She has two children, ages 15 and 13.

Education: Bachelor’s degree from the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University.

In the community: In addition to being on the Council, which includes being part of the Municipal Alliance Committee, I was also on the North Brunswick Board of Education for two years prior to being elected to Council.

I was the council liaison to the North Brunswick Library Board for three years. I was on the Judd PTO (Parent Teacher Organization) executive board for seven years as president, vice president and treasurer.

I continue to volunteer on the middle school PTO as needed. I was a board member for Brookside Swim Club for eight years, and currently I am the vice president for Raritan Valley YMCA’s Riptide Swim Team Executive Board. I am always involved in my kids’ sports activities and currently help with the parent organizations for North Brunswick Township High School girls’ soccer, swimming and lacrosse by running fundraisers and other events during each season.

Why are you running for a seat for Council? North Brunswick is a fantastic place to live, and I truly stand by that. On the Council we strive to make our town a better place to live each year, which isn’t easy. I have enjoyed my time on the Council and have learned a great deal about our wonderful residents. I want to continue to help North Brunswick move forward, adapt to changes in society, honor traditions and set a positive example for our younger generation.

What is one area you would like to concentrate on if elected? North Brunswick is the most diverse town in the County and one of the most diverse in the state. We would like to bring our residents together by creating opportunities for community involvement and activities by building a much-needed community center that all of our residents can benefit from and use year-round.

Republican candidates

Robert Saphow, 39, has lived in North Brunswick for 10-plus years. He is married with four children, ages 10, 8, 5, and 3.

Education: Bachelor’s degree in economics from Rutgers University and a master’s in business administration from Penn State University.

Profession: Small business owner of a local employee benefits agency (health, dental, vision, life, disability insurance coverages)

In the community: Soccer coach for the U11 North Brunswick girls’ team, always support local events in town, and made my home a Watershed Institute certified water-friendly residence.

Why are you running for a seat for Council? Fresh minds offer a new perspective when progress stalls. A newly elected Councilman will contribute a new viewpoint to streamline city services, clean up litter, and smooth potential negative impacts from municipal projects. Our town needs a clear communication plan, skillful budget control and innovative solutions. I bring all of this and more to drive growth.

What is one area you would like to concentrate on if elected? Easing resident tax burden, supporting local business, while maintaining the budget are the keys to success and are the focus of my campaign.

Implementing a tax credit program utilizing a local business discount paid to the city will drive shopping locally, resident tax reduction, and support the municipal budget.

Prem Kankanala did not respond before press time. Polls open from 6-8 p.m. Nov. 8.

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