JAMESBURG – Democratic candidates Thomas Emens and Samantha Rampacek will be running for two, three-year available seats on Jamesburg’s Borough Council.
According to the Middlesex County candidate list for 2022, no Republican challengers filled a petition to run.
Election day will be held on Nov. 8.
Thomas Emens (D) has resided in Jamesburg for 20 years. He currently works as a sales representative at Gray Rock Supply Company in Jamesburg. He is also a sophomore transfer student at Princeton University where he’s pursuing a bachelor’s degree in politics.
Emens said that he’s been involved in different committees since middle school and has launched numerous community projects.
“I worked with the Recreation Department to launch the Jamesburg Theatre Group in 2018 to provide a philanthropic home for the performing arts in Jamesburg. As artistic director, I worked with fellow students to present annual spring plays as a part of our, ‘Theatre for a Cause,’ program to raise money for local causes and charities. Since the program’s inception, we’ve fundraised for Powers Promise, Embrace Kids Foundation, the Jamesburg First Aid Squad, and the Jamesburg Historical Association.
“I’ve also served as co-coordinator of the Jamesburg Green Team, which organizes environmental projects in town such as watershed clean-ups. Since 2017, we’ve removed over two tons of litter and debris from the Manalapan Brook. I’ve served on the Environmental Committee of the Council since 2019 and helped Jamesburg become certified with Sustainable Jersey,” he said.
Emens became the youngest person in the history of Jamesburg to hold public office when he served on the Board of Trustees for the Jamesburg Public Library in 2020.
Since 2022, he has served as secretary of the Board of Trustees and as a chairman of the Policy and Strategic Planning Committee. During his tenure, he stated that the local library was revitalized with new initiatives that resulted in significant changes.
“I’m proudest of working with my colleagues on the Board of Trustees to expand the library’s services, hire the youngest and most diverse staff that the library has ever had, and unanimously pass the most significant reforms to revitalize the library in over 40 years,” he said.
Emens said his run for office is motivated by his love of Jamesburg and for the potential his community has shown. He believes his previous experiences and youthful perspective can create new opportunities for his hometown.
“I’m running because I love Jamesburg and I believe that our best days are still ahead. I believe that my experience, my perspective as a young person, and my proven track record of delivering results for our community will be assets to the Borough Council at this pivotal moment in Jamesburg where we will make decisions that will shape our community for years to come.
“I’ve lived in Jamesburg my whole life and six generations of my family have called Jamesburg home. I am committed to building a bright future for our community so that future generations will be able to proudly call Jamesburg their home,” Emens said.
If elected, he plans to prioritize fiscal responsibility and long-term planning to ensure that residents are connected through public services and community programs.
“My top priority is working to ensure that Jamesburg is best positioned to address the community’s current and future needs. Through long-term planning, we can achieve fiscal responsibility for our taxpayers, support our first responders, build a more eco-friendly community, and modernize institutions like our library so they can provide optimum-level services to residents.
“Bringing the community together is also important to me. Through recreation programs and community events, we can support and encourage the unique and diverse character of our town.
“… My goal is to give the library the most value for our town by offering new programs for residents and their families, developing a new and more modern book collection on our first floor, and creating a community center on our lower level with study space for students and meeting space for civic groups,” he said.
Samantha Rampacek (D) is a third-generation resident of Jamesburg and has lived in the borough for 31 years. She currently works as the director of revenue collection for Monroe Township.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting and management from Wagner College and is pursuing a Master of Public Administration from Purdue University. She is also a Middlesex County master gardener through Rutgers Cooperative Extension.
Within Jamesburg, she is a member of several groups which include the Jamesburg Theater Group, the Jamesburg Green Team, the Jamesburg Library Trustees, the Jamesburg Garden Club, and the Ladies Auxiliary of the Jamesburg Fire Department.
Since 2017, she has served as a member of Jamesburg’s Borough Council. In that period, she’s served twice as the council president, and as the chair of the Finance Committee. She’s also served on the Personnel Committee and the Public Events Committee.
“While elected, I have worked hard to create fiscally responsible budgets, help make necessary improvements throughout the town, and improve connections between town officials and our residents.
“My favorite moments on council have been implementing and helping with some of our exciting town events such as our annual fall festivals, zombie walks, Easter egg hunts, creek clean-ups, Memorial Day parades, fire safety days, and Christmas tree and menorah lighting ceremonies, which have allowed me to connect and build relationships with our residents,” she said.
Rampacek described her six-year tenure as an “honor” and hopes to continue contributing to the borough’s progress with an election victory.
“While some days are much harder than others, in the end, it feels good to be making a difference and seeing my hard work pay off. I love this town and I am excited for potentially serving this community for another three years.
“Three issues that are most important to me are ethics and transparency, sustainability, and improving our community through downtown revitalization and recreational programs.
“Ethics and transparency of our elected officials is of utmost importance because in order to be trusted by our residents, we must be held to the highest standards.
“Sustainability is important when thinking of our future on this planet, so we are doing what we can to be more eco-friendly, including having most of our election materials in digital form this year. Also, we will be working on more projects with our Green Team in the coming months.
“Finally, residents have made it known that more recreational programs and an improved downtown area would improve their quality of life here, so I would love to work on improving some of those areas,” Rampacek said.
Polls open from 6-8 p.m. on Nov. 8.