Helmstetter and Molloy Running for Two Open Council Seats
There was a packed house at the township’s Democratic Club meeting on April 26. Residents took the opportunity to meet the local party’s candidates running in November for two open seats on the town council: Douglas Helmstetter and Daniel Malloy.
Local party chair and former mayor Horace Chamberlain said it was the first time in some 18 years that the party is being represented in a township election to challenge the GOP. The local government of Jefferson Township, he noted, has been run by a single party for almost two decades.
Both Malloy and Helmstetter emphatically spoke about the need for equal representation in local government, stressing that their concerns lie in the best interests of Jefferson Township’s residents.
“We need a voice on the council,” Helmstetter told the group, adding that for too long there has been “no choice, no objection, no opposition” on the council itself in how the town is run. Malloy stressed that both candidates’ interests are strictly local, adding that even on the local level of government, different voices and fresh ideas are necessary.
One member of the audience suggested that there may be a tradition of resistance to Democrats in the heavily dominated Republican township based on impressions of Washington D.C.-based Dems. Helmstetter and Malloy concurred the idea might be a possibility. “We’re not about taking anyone’s guns away,” stressed Malloy, adding that the candidates just want a chance for local Democrats to participate in its government.
The two candidates are in the process of formulating a platform that will be promoted throughout the campaign. They will face off in the November election against GOP winners from a field of candidates running in the primary race.
Club members also got a chance to meet Lisa McCormick, the Democratic primary challenger to incumbent senator Bob Menendez. A newcomer to the political arena, she revealed that she was moved to run for office because “regular people” need to step up to create change in the nation’s capital. The only way to change what’s happening in Washington is “to elect someone new. We need to elect regular people,” McCormick stated.
Neither Menendez nor a representative responded to an invitation to make a presentation at the club meeting. However, just prior to the meeting, Menendez conducted a live Q&A on Facebook with Action2getherNJ about offshore drilling and the environment. The Q&A was moderated by Jefferson Township resident Christine Clarke, an environmental advocate.
Chamberlain stated that the next meeting is May 24 at the library and encouraged all to attend again. Additionally, it was noted that the township budget will be up for voting at the next council meeting on Wednesday, May 2, and that interested members can attend as the public is always invited.