All our candidates won by a margin of almost 2-1 in the November 5, 2019 general election! Congratulations to Councilwoman Kathy Mitchell and council candidate Francine Glaser for beating their opponents handily. Mayor Colleen Mahr and Councilman Jeff Banks, both of whom ran unopposed, also got more than 1,000 votes each. Fanwood voters sent another resounding message that they like what's going on in our town and are ready for more!
OFFICIAL RETURNS (certified by Union County Clerk Nov. 14, 2019)
The gang's all here for our fall fundraiser at Darby Road in Scotch Plains. Top supporters and some newcomers joined us for food, drinks and fun on Thursday, Oct. 17th. County candidates and local candidates from nearby towns also visited.
It has been my privilege to serve as mayor of Fanwood for 16 years. I moved here because like many of the young people moving to our town today, I saw it as an ideal community to raise my family. I've never regretted that decision as my three sons have thrived in our wonderful school system and taken part in many sports and community programs that have enriched them.
When I became Mayor, our downtown was suffering a severe case of neglect. There had not been a new building built in close to four decades. Blighted conditions and stalled initiatives left eyesores and environmental hazards blocking opportunities for new business and growth.
My professional background in economic development and experience revitalizing city neighborhoods enabled me to see the potential Fanwood had and to create a strategy for growth and prosperity. Using the access to mass transit as a catalyst, I worked hand in hand with the community to establish a vision and plan for the creation of a vibrant town center with new housing opportunities, storefronts, jobs and public spaces adjacent to the beautiful historic train station.
I am delighted to say that our vision has been realized. In partnership with the business community and local leaders, we have completed the final development project of our downtown Redevelopment Area, resulting in more than $25 million dollars of investment creating 135 luxury housing units, numerous retail spaces and beautiful public plazas, while meeting our court-mandated affordable housing obligations. Fanwood currently boasts less than 5% vacancy in both retail space and housing rentals downtown. In addition, our property values town-wide have increased tremendously over the past five years and our town's credit rating has been enhanced.
Fanwood has received awards for its planning and community engagement. It has been recognized as a model for best practices in Smart Growth as well as Transit Oriented Development. It is a success story in innovative environmental remediation as well as public-private partnership.
I love being the Mayor of Fanwood! I love meeting our citizens and advocating for them. In addition to my duties as Mayor, I lead a coalition of Mayors along the Raritan Valley Rail Line working to secure direct rail service to Manhattan, what we call the "one seat ride", and to advance the Gateway Tunnel Project. I am a founding member of the Union County Moms Demand Action, advocating for common sense gun laws. I am also involved in the local Boys Scouts and Girl Scouts and the many area sports programs that my sons are involved in. I currently serve as President of the New Jersey State League of Municipalities, a statewide advocacy organization for local governments.
Come out and vote for me and Council candidates Kathy Mitchell, Jeff Banks and Francine Glaser on November 5th. We are the future of Fanwood!
I love and care about Fanwood. I have been and am committed to a better quality of life for all our residents. I am proud to be part of Team Mahr and the many committed volunteers who have helped realize this goal. I strongly believe in giving back, and this is what I have tried to do.
This year, we’ve been able to keep our municipal tax rate flat without compromising any of our municipal services. It’s getting harder to do this every year as costs rise. But we have been successful at securing grants, which have helped us pay for road repairs and upgrade our nature center, parks and historic areas. At the same time, I feel it is important that we make sure our police, fire, and rescue squads all have the necessary tools, education and equipment to keep us all safe.
I am a retired Registered Nurse. My last jobs were as a Visiting Nurse and an MDS coordinator at Runnells Specialized Hospital. As an MDS coordinator, I was responsible for all the assessments for Medicare reimbursement. This required much organization, medical knowledge and patient/family interaction. If I had to do it all over again, I would still be a nurse in some capacity.
For the past 28 years, I have been the Social Concerns coordinator at IHM church. We have just reinstituted our Sheltering the Homeless program whereby homeless families spend 2-3 weeks a year at our parish. We feed our guests, breakfast and dinner and provide lunch. Our guests sleep at IHM and we provide a dry, safe environment for parents and children. We also have a Christmas giving tree which provides almost 1,000 gifts for local charities. Our Thanksgiving food collection provides many meals which also go into the community. My goal for the next year is to establish a “helping hands” program which will help both parishioners and reach into the community to help those in need.
I’m looking forward to this year’s campaign and hope the voters of Fanwood return me to my seventh term on the Council.
My husband Haydn and I purchased our home in Fanwood as newlyweds because it is the quintessential New Jersey community with its friendly, small town feel, access to New York City, proximity to Route 22 and vibrant, local downtown.
I am a graduate of Rutgers University and work in New York. I commute every day on the Raritan Valley Line and thus am as eager as everyone else to get a one-seat ride directly to New York Penn Station. The opportunity to run for Fanwood Council allows me to advocate for the one-seat ride and better overall performance by NJ Transit. I also want to ensure that the Fanwood downtown continues to thrive, and that public safety remains one of our top priorities.
I have significant experience in Democratic politics and campaigning, having been a local Committeewoman in Edison. I have gone door to door to ask for votes and won in a tough election. I’m also no stranger to the State House in Trenton where I was the Director of Operations for Assembly members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey, as well as the Legislative Director for Environment Committee Chair Assemblywoman Nancy Pinkin. During my time in the Assembly staff, I was constantly exposed to statewide, local and constituent issues.
I believe I represent a growing demographic of young people who are choosing Fanwood as the place to purchase that first home, perhaps raise a family and stay a while. Haydn and I feel so welcome and comfortable here, that running for office feels like the most natural thing for me to do.
I hope you’ll vote for Kathy, Jeff and me for Fanwood Council, and of course Colleen Mahr for Mayor, on November 5th.
(Fanwood, NJ)--Mayor Colleen Mahr once again leads the Democratic ticket in the fall campaign for elected offices in Fanwood. She is running unopposed for an unprecedented fifth term.
"It has been my privilege to serve as mayor of Fanwood for 16 years," she said. "I love being the Mayor of Fanwood! I love meeting our citizens and advocating for them. Our town has come a long way in those 16 years and I'm proud to have been a part of that growth."
She shares the ticket with candidates running for three Council seats up for grabs.
Veteran Councilwoman Kathy Mitchell is running for her seventh term. She is in her 18th year on the Fanwood Council and still going strong.
"I love and care about Fanwood," she said. "I am committed to a better quality of life for all our residents. I strongly believe in giving back, and this is what I have tried to do."
Councilman Jeff Banks won his primary race in June. Banks, an industrial designer, is very involved in community service. Along with his daughter Mallory and the rest of his family, he heads up Fanwood's annual Rockin' for Autism event each year during Autism Awareness month. To date, this event has raised over $70,000. All funds are donated to Autism New Jersey, where Banks serves as a board member.
"I'm looking forward to continuing my service to the Borough of Fanwood and hope the residents will acknowledge my dedication and leadership by supporting me in the November 5th general election," said Banks.
The newest face on the ballot is that of Francine Glaser, who is running for the seat currently held by Tom Kranz who is not running for re-election. Initially, Kevin Boris ran for that seat and won the June primary. Over the summer, he resigned from the campaign citing increasing family and professional commitments. Francine, a native of Edison, and her husband Haydn purchased their first home in Fanwood. She was a Democratic committeewoman in Edison and worked for several assembly members in Trenton. She commutes to New York every day using NJ Transit.
"I believe I represent a growing demographic of young people who are choosing Fanwood as the place to purchase that first home, perhaps raise a family and stay a while," she said. "Haydn and I feel so welcome and comfortable here, that running for office feels like the most natural thing for me to do."
All four candidates will be running under the Team Mahr banner for the November 5th general election.
Francine is a young professional who is a relative newcomer to Fanwood. It wasn't surprising that she sought out local Democrats after being active as a Democratic Committeewoman in Edison where she grew up.
Francine is running for the council seat being vacated by Tom Kranz, who is not seeking re-election. Kevin Boris initially ran for that seat, winning the June primary. Over the summer, he resigned as a candidate citing increasing professional and family commitments.
Francine and her husband Hadyn represent a growing demographic of young people moving into Fanwood, purchasing their first homes and establishing roots. She commutes to New York every day and shares the challenges of all those NJ Transit riders who long for a one-seat ride and better on-time service.
Francine will make an excellent addition to the Council. Please join us in supporting her campaign!
Mayor Mahr, center, mom Nancy Yewaisis to her right and Committee people Adele Kenny, Pat and Tom Plante, enjoy the food, drinks and friendship under the big tent.
I am running for election for Fanwood Democratic Committee in District three. The seat I am seeking was held by former councilman Bill Populus, who was a leader in our community for decades, and sadly passed away recently.
I have lived in Fanwood for 14 years, and I cannot imagine raising my family in any other town. I l love the sense of community and that everything is in walking distance. Over the years I have worked with town officials to address safety issues on my street, an issue which continues to be of great importance to me.
A year and a half ago, I joined the Recreation Commission, where we continue to seek out new programs and events to bring to Fanwood as well as bringing new ideas to established events. Prior to that I had volunteered at many town events, including the Fanwood 5K, the Halloween Parade, Party in the Park, and the Christmas Event.
I have been a supporter of Mayor Colleen Mahr and her team. During this recent campaign, I have truly enjoyed going out in my district, knocking on doors, meeting people and receiving very enthusiastic support. Along with Amy Boroff, who I am proud to have as a running mate, we look forward to serving district three as well as all of Fanwood.
I ask all Democrats in District three to come out Tuesday June 4th and vote in confidence in myself and Amy Boroff supporting team Mahr. Keep integrity in Fanwood and vote Column B!
I am running for re-election for the Fanwood Democratic Committeeman in District 4, a position I have held for the past 20 years.
As a long time resident of Fanwood, I believe it is important to give back to the community and get involved where you can contribute best. That’s is why I had two stints serving on the Planning Board in Fanwood, including being the Board’s liaison to the Environmental Committee.
I have been an active member of the Fanwood Democratic Committee and a great supporter of Mayor Colleen Mahr. I am proud to be part of her team as we run together in the June 4th primary to keep control of Fanwood local.
I ask all Democrats in Fanwood District 4 to come out next Tuesday and vote for me and Adele Kenny, and support #TeamMahr. Vote Column B!
Fanwood Democratic Committeeman for District 4
I am a Fanwood Democrat and I will be voting in this year’s primary on June 4. I was elected to the Fanwood Borough Council in Nov. 2018. As I said in my campaign, I am honored to work with and support Mayor Mahr, the town council and the Democratic Committee. I have seen the hard work, dedication and integrity of this very diverse group of men and women as they serve the Fanwood residents.
Our town has a lot to be proud of and that includes Democrats who believe in good government while being transparent and a government that works hard for all. Mayor Mahr and the Column B team have been involved in volunteerism throughout the community while working tirelessly to listen to the residents, act on their concerns and try to provide their best for the community. I believe we have no political agenda --- just a willingness to provide leadership that will benefit all of us.
Primaries have historic low voter turnout. So, I ask, please go out on June 4 and Vote Column B Team Mahr. We are representing your voices in the Democratic Party. We are your neighbors in your voting districts and would like to continue to represent you in the Democratic Committee. We have and will continue to put Fanwood Residents First! We are approachable, available and with your help, ready to continue to provide the best governing body and Democratic Committee possible.
VOTE COLUMN B JUNE 4 TEAM MAHR
A primary challenge to long-term members of the Democratic Committee, in Fanwood, really?
I just read Carolyn Daly Brink’s letter to the editor supporting her husband’s candidacy in Column A, against me. I agree with one of the statements Mrs. Brink made about her husband. After retiring from the National Archives, I accepted a part-time position as archivist for Union County, and worked with Mark on records related projects. I became friendly with Mark and agree with Ms. Brink that he’s an honorable guy. That’s the only agreement I have with her May 22 letter to the editor.
I am not a politician! I’m a Staten Island refugee, and I’ve been a Fanwood resident since October 1985. Soon after I got to our magnificent little borough, I was appointed to the Zoning Board of Appeals, and eventually was elected Chair. When the Zoning and Planning Boards were combined, I was appointed to the new board by a Republican mayor. I served for more than 25 years and was elected Vice Chair.
Since I worked for the National Archives, I was appointed as the Planning Board representative to the Historic Preservation Commission. I eventually was elected the Commission chair. Anyone that knows me will read this and be puzzled by my self-promotion. Mrs. Brink’s letter forced me to respond!
Mrs. Brink referenced the national political climate. Readers might recall that a 2016 victor can’t accept his win, but continues to attempt to grind Hillary Clinton, his opponent -- oh, yeah, a strong woman politician -- into oblivion. She says Column B is “working hard to divide our Democratic party.” Really?
I hope Mrs. Brink, the Mirabellas, and even the State Senator from Linden (Nick Scutari), read my self-aggrandizing second paragraph. When I was asked to run as the male Democratic Committee person for District 5 by Mayor Mahr, I told her that I’m not a politician. I don’t like demeaning opponents, or crowing about my accomplishments. This breath-taking power-grab forced me to take fingers to keyboard.
Column B Candidate - District 5
This letter comes in response to the TAP interview with Al and Phyllis Mirabella. I have been on the Fanwood Democratic Committee for over 7 years now and have been on the Fanwood town council for 3.5 years so I have had to run for office twice against a member of another party. But now, thanks to the actions of Mr. Mirabella and Senator Scutari, I and 13 other good Democrats, have to run against people in our own party to keep control of Fanwood in Fanwood. We are having to run against our own neighbors.
The people on the current Fanwood committee, who are ALL on Column B in June with the exception of Mr. Mirabella, are long time Fanwood residents, not politicians. They don't just support "one person", as Mr. Mirabella claims. They support the good work that is going on in Fanwood and the good people who have run for office here. They support the Mayor because she has done an excellent job and is loyal to Fanwood! And now Mr. Mirabella wants to put out a false narrative that suggests that all these people don't have good and diverse ideas? He knows these people. Many of them used to be his friends. Ask yourself really.... why is he running a campaign against Fanwood residents who have supported our community for years? What agenda is at play here? Better question, if this is just about Mr. Mirabella reclaiming his seat on the Fanwood Democratic committee, why is our state Senator Nick Scutari contesting 300 committee seats across Union County? It is not just Fanwood.
Mrs. Mirabella talks about having to unite as a democratic party. This is obviously important to all democrats now. However, we should unite with honesty and integrity, motivated by the desire to do good, not for personal or political gain. The current democratic committee is and has been united with the goal of a better Fanwood. It is disingenuous to suggest these people have another political agenda or do not have Fanwood's best interest at heart.
The truth of the matter is that Mr. Mirabella has not been actively involved in Fanwood Democratic committee for several years, long before he was the lone democrat who turned his back on his own mayor for county political reasons. The other truth is that Mirabella didn't just want his own committee seat. He and the county want all of the committee seats. That is why they refused to give our committee the line and promptly presented a full slate of 14 committee candidates to run against us. This behavior has played out across the county. Is that diversity of opinion they are seeking or consolidation of power to one person? The REAL truth is, this primary fight is not about Fanwood at all. For Mirabella and Scutari, this is about the county taking control of committees in EVERY town in the county.
From my perspective, this is the opposite of good government, the opposite of what it means to me to be a real Democrat. Mr. Mirabella already turned his back on the Fanwood Democratic Organization a year ago when he did not support Colleen for county chair, and actively campaigned against her. Now, he is trying to do it in Fanwood, and for what personal or political gain? Colleen isn't seeking higher office. She is not trying to climb the political ladder. She is trying to do the right thing for Fanwood. Can Al Mirabella say that is what he has been doing? Is that what former politician Linda Stender is doing, who does not even live in Fanwood anymore but is advising him during this campaign? If he was truly Fanwood First, he would have worked with his mayor and his democratic committee for what is best for our town first. He has not done that in many years.
Please don't claim the moral high ground in this fight. The only people who really support Fanwood residents first, without seeking personal or political gain, are the current committee members who will all be on Column B on June 4. Please come out to support them.
Erin McElroy Barker
Mayor Mahr visited the Chelsea Monday (May 20, 2019) to give residents an update on the latest Fanwood news. They were especially happy to hear about the new grocery store, Fanwood Larder, coming to within walking distance. The Mayor also handed out flyers showing where to find COLUMN B candidates on the June 4 primary ballot. Chelsea residents reside in District 3 and vote at First Children School right up the street on South Avenue.
I am a lifelong Democrat and have been a part of the Fanwood Democratic party for over 15 years. I have worked closely with all the committee men and women running on Column B as well as Mayor Mahr each and every election.
I have seen first hand their hard work and sense of community they bring to our party. Those men and women in each district have put in the work and helped campaign time and time again for Fanwood Democrats. We have celebrated our victories and our defeats together.
I, along with many Democratic voters, reject Freeholder Mirabella and his wife, Phyllis's self-serving characterization of why they are mounting a challenge to those who hold the positions currently. I will be proudly voting the ENTIRE Column B "People First Democrats" slate on Tuesday, June 4, and ask my fellow Fanwood DEMOCRATS to do the same.
The good folks at Monk's Remodeling Studio on South Avenue opened their doors to us Thursday evening, May 16, 2019, as Mayor Colleen Mahr hosted a wine reception to introduce herself and members of the Column B ticket to voters. She touted the ongoing success of our downtown redevelopment, a direct result of which is Monk's and the residents who live above it. Some of them joined us. She also spoke of the challenge our Committee candidates face from the slate backed by the County Democratic machine which seeks to take control of our local Committee. Council candidate Kathy Mitchell was in attendance, along with committee candidates Steve Falco, Tom and Pat Plante, Adele Kenny and John Celardo. DON'T STAY HOME JUNE 4TH. VOTE COLUMN B!
We are the Fanwood Democratic Committee seeking your support on the June 4th primary ballot on Column B, along with Mayor Colleen Mahr and a slate of Democratic Council Candidates.
We read with great interest the recent interview given by Union County Freeholder and Scotch Plains Township Administrator Al Mirabella and his wife, Phyllis, on the upcoming election. We felt it merited a response from those of us who were personally and directly affected by their representations of who we are, what we think, what we are allegedly saying and why we are running on Column B, the People First Democrats ticket.
The Mirabella's are backed by Union County Party Chairman/New Jersey State Senator Nick Scutari who has forced a primary challenge here in Fanwood and in several municipalities across the county. The Democratic chairman has pitted Democrats against each other.
While they speak of how Mayor Mahr was "offered the line but didn’t take it,” what they conveniently leave out is that Senator Scutari refused to allow us, many long-standing committee members, to run with Mayor Mahr on the County Democratic Party line. His motive is simple--build a party that supports him, and him alone. So let’s call this primary challenge what it is--political retribution for supporting Mayor Mahr over him for County Chair.
Mayor Mahr and the Column B Council candidates did not and would not turn their backs on us for the idea of running on the County Democratic line, something that would have made their lives easier. Instead, they chose to stand shoulder to shoulder with us. Who are we? We are Fanwood Democrats who represent a town with people of different ages, from a variety of cultural, ethnic and professional backgrounds, who are joined together by our common Democratic beliefs. Some of our members are new to our team this year. All have impressive resumes as volunteer members of Fanwood boards and commissions, as well as other community activities. We are invested in Fanwood. Together, we are all working to build a better Fanwood and a stronger Democratic Party.
The call by the Mirabella's to bring a diversity of opinions and new ideas to our local Committee is curious since they have been absent from our meetings, social events and local efforts to elect Fanwood Democrats, all opportunities to share these so-called new ideas. Freeholder Mirabella has been on our County Freeholder Board for 22 years and has been supposedly active in our committee for 16 years, ample time to present ideas and bring new members to the committee. So, you can see why this new-found interest in rebuilding our party came as a surprise to the entirety of the Fanwood Democratic Committee.
In reading the interview, one thing is very clear--this election is indeed about more than one person. It's about two people--County Chair Scutari and Freeholder Mirabella who are both trying to control what happens here in Fanwood.
Our Fanwood Democratic Committee’s door has always been open to all who want to join our cause. We encourage the voters to visit our website, fanwooddems.com. From now until June 4th, we will be actively working to re-elect Mayor Mahr and the entire Column B team!
Sincerely and in unity,
Patricia "Trisha" Walsh
Erin McElroy Barker
For the first time in decades, Fanwood voters have choices to make among local candidates on a primary ballot. While Mayor Colleen Mahr and Council candidates Kathy Mitchell, Jeff Banks and Kevin Boris are running unopposed in the June 4th primary, our incumbent Democratic Committee candidates face a challenge from a slate supported by the Union County Democratic organization.
In my 20 plus years serving Fanwood as a volunteer and a Councilman, it's been my privilege to see these dedicated men and women working to make our town better in many ways. They believe in small-town values and have been busy in activities over the years, mostly as volunteers, to further those values. This is what our local Democratic organization is all about supporting our politics, our values, selecting excellent candidates and keeping those priorities in Fanwood.
The County Democratic machine has turned its back on these people and is interested in consolidating power for reasons that have very little to do with us.
I urge Fanwood Democrats to turn out on June 4th and vote for those friends and neighbors you've known for years, along with several new and involved community leaders, as your grassroots representatives in our neighborhoods. They will be listed on Column B, right under Mayor Mahr and the other candidates I mentioned above. Their slate is called People First Democrats, and includes Freeholder candidate Jack Molenaar. They are campaigning to keep Democratic political power in local hands and out of the hands of county power brokers. You can read all about our Committee candidates and confirm which district you are in at fanwooddems.com.
You'll be greeted at the polling places this year by brand new voting machines. They have easy to use touch screens and poll workers will be there to assist. It's a good idea to go to http://ucnj.org/board-of-elections/how-to-use-a-voting-machine/ and watch a short video to familiarize yourself with them.
By the way, if you are registered as an unaffiliated voter, you can still vote for our Democrats in the primary. You need only declare yourself a Democrat for the purposes of this primary--you don't have to change your registration. You can do that right at the polling place before you go to the machine. A poll worker will show you how.
Please remember to vote for Mayor Colleen Mahr and your Committee candidate under Column B to keep your representation in the county Democratic committee local. The phrase "every vote counts" really matters this year.
THE COLUMN B BRIGADE! Mayor Colleen Mahr, Council candidates Kathy Mitchell, Jeff Banks and Kevin Boris, several of our Committee candidates and supporters from the community came to the home of Scott Sinclair on Shady Lane in Fanwood on Sunday May 5th to promote the People First Democrats slate for the June 4th primary. Scott is one of our 14 candidates for Democratic Committee who you'll find on Column B of the ballot along with Mayor Mahr and the Council candidates on June 4th. They need your vote to keep our Democratic representation right here in our town. VOTE COLUMN B, PEOPLE FIRST DEMOCRATS, ON JUNE 4TH!
Councilwoman Patricia Walsh joins the Council in the seat vacated by Jack Molenaar. She was elected in November, 2018.
Councilman Jeff Banks assumed the Council seat held by Russ Huegel, who resigned in late December to become Borough Attorney. Under state law, Banks was chosen by the Council from three nominees selected by the Democratic Committee. Banks must run for election this year to remain in that seat.
Councilwoman Erin McElroy Barker was sworn in for her second term, surrounded by family. She was re-elected in November.
Did you know that, in addition to serving as our Mayor, Colleen Mahr is also the newest President of the New Jersey State League of Municipalities?
The League is a voluntary association created to help communities do a better job of self-governing through pooling information resources and brain power. In her role, Mayor Mahr works to lead municipalities to better self-governance and connecting officials across town and county lines for a more productive New Jersey.
Mayor Mahr is featured in the January issue of the organization's publication, NJ Municipalities, where she discusses her role as the President and also mentions her mayor duties in Fanwood. The magazine is available as a subscription-based publication for municipalities and professionals.