Cranford Township Committee Candidate Profile: Mary O’Connor

CRANFORD, NJ — New Jersey’s Main Election Day is arising on June 7, and 4 candidates are operating for seats on Cranford’s Township Committee this yr.

Democrat Mayor Kathleen Miller Prunty is operating for a second time period on the committee together with operating mate Terrence Curran. They may face two Republican candidates — present Committeewoman Mary O’Connor, together with Chrissa Stulpin.

There are two open seats on Cranford’s Township Committee this yr, in response to City Clerk Patricia Donahue.

Discover out what’s taking place in Cranfordwith free, real-time updates from Patch.

Patch despatched out questionnaires to native candidates and can run profiles for these operating this yr.

Beneath are incumbent Republican candidate Marry O’Connor’s solutions:

Discover out what’s taking place in Cranfordwith free, real-time updates from Patch.

Workplace sought:

Cranford Township Commissioner

Celebration affiliation:

Republican

Training:

I studied Music after which Communications at Glassboro State School, now Rowan College.
Altering majors in junior yr just isn’t beneficial. I completed my credit at Kean and Thomas
Edison State Universities, finishing my Bachelor of Arts whereas working full time. It’s by no means to
late end what you began.

Occupation:

I’ve been an Data Expertise Specialist for the previous 21 years and am trying ahead
to retiring in nearly twenty working days, however who’s counting?

My life has had a variety of twists and turns. I’ve labored for a significant company as a Techniques
Analyst, spent a number of years on air as a Disc Jockey and sidelined as a reporter. I moved into
Instructional Expertise once I wanted to pivot. I imagine one of many issues that makes me a
good Township Commissioner is that I’ve needed to study to adapt and modify as a life ability. It
permits me to hear and generally change place when new and related info or ideas
are launched.

Household:

My daughter Nell is thirty two years previous and really fortunately married to her husband Stephen. I’m
considered one of six youngsters and imagine that is the place I discovered the best way to negotiate and compromise.
Generally it labored and different occasions it did not, however it was fairly an expertise!

Does anybody in your loved ones work in politics or authorities?

I’ve no members of the family working in Cranford.

Earlier public workplace, appointive or elective:

I’ve been am elected member of the Cranford Township Committee since 2014. Earlier than that I
served on the Planning Board and Zoning Board of Adjustment. These positions gave me
large perception into the most effective path ahead for growth in our city.

Why are you in search of this workplace?

It has been a privilege to serve the residents of Cranford for the previous eight and a half years. I
actually love this city. Whereas I grew up in Cranford, throughout my years working for United Airways, I
lived in suburbs of Denver, Chicago and Los Angeles. There may be simply no different city that I can
examine to Cranford. I returned to my hometown in 1992 to lift my daughter. It was necessary
to me, as a single mother, to be close to my household, and in a neighborhood the place individuals look out for
one another. Cranford is that neighborhood.

As a Township Commissioner I imagine strongly in at all times placing our residents first. I’ve made
each common and unpopular choices primarily based on what I felt was proper for Cranford. Doing what
you are feeling is correct just isn’t at all times simple. My expertise and dedication have been confirmed throughout
my tenure on the Township Committee and I’m asking the residents of Cranford to assist that
dedication in November.

Please full this assertion: The one most urgent challenge going through my constituents is
___, and that is what I intend to do about it.

Improvement and flooding go hand in hand as probably the most urgent points going through Cranford. I discover it
unattainable to separate them. Improvement in and round Cranford and in cities upstream has
had an simple influence on our infrastructure. Our roads and sewer system can not maintain
unchecked progress.

Progress is necessary to the success of any city. Let’s do it proper. All builders must be
required to contribute to an infrastructure belief focused particularly for sewer upgrades. We
want an entire evaluate of the sewer system to determine weak areas and create a plan to restore
and improve.

Our storm storm water administration ordinance should be reviewed and tailored to make sure
builders comply to the very best requirements.

Cities with repetitive, catastrophic flooding must be exempt from builders’ treatment lawsuits.
That message must be taken to the Governor and our legislators. It’ll enable us to satisfy our
reasonably priced housing obligation and plan for growth with out the specter of authorized motion.
I’ll proceed to work with our state and federal legislators on appropriating funds for Cranford
flood initiatives. Assemblywomen Nancy Munoz and Michele Matsikoudis have launched a invoice to
safe 5 million {dollars} particularly for Cranford’s flood initiatives. Commissioner Black and I
have been actively engaged on this initiative. It deserves the total assist of the Township
Committee It’s unattainable to maneuver ahead with out substantial funding.

What are the most important variations between you and the opposite candidates in search of this
put up?

I imagine that every one 4 candidates are dedicated to what they assume is greatest for Cranford. Our
method to growth might be what separates us. Over the previous few years, our
downtown has been constantly rated top-of-the-line in New Jersey. We aren’t an city
heart however there appears to be a push to mannequin growth in Cranford after these areas. 4

tales all through our downtown, just isn’t my imaginative and prescient for Cranford. Is it yours? If it turns into an
possibility, it is going to change into a actuality, That is the economics of growth. Most new residents transfer
right here to vary their surroundings to a quieter, smaller one. We are able to have progress and nonetheless
keep our id. My operating mate, Chrissa Stulpin and I imagine they do not should be
mutually unique ideas.

In case you are difficult an incumbent, in what means has the present officeholder failed the
neighborhood?

Cranford has a Township Committee type of authorities. It is distinctive in that every one 5 elected
officers are equal in each means. Over the previous few years, we now have shifted away from how
authorities in Cranford is meant to function.

Our Township Administrator must be operating the each day operation of the city. Our
township professionals have confirmed to be among the many greatest within the enterprise. They don’t must
be micromanaged. Our bylaws truly state that we as Commissioners, should not allowed to
intervene with Township operations.

Official correspondence to residents ought to come from the Administrator and never elected
officers.

If we’re asking residents to comply with our by-laws, we must be setting the instance. We have to
let our municipal workers do their jobs and deal with ours – setting coverage, approving budgets and
engaged on the necessary points going through Cranford, growth, flooding, public security and
high quality of life for our residents.

What different points do you propose to deal with throughout your marketing campaign?

Cranford continues its restoration from the pandemic and it is necessary to have robust fiscal
insurance policies that may support that progress. We have to proceed to comply with the trail set in 2014 that
introduced Cranford out of state funds oversight and right into a wholesome monetary state.

Reasonably priced housing is crucial inside our neighborhood. My Nana, an Irish immigrant, lived in
backed housing and to her it was a godsend. Everybody deserves an opportunity at that feeling.
We have to create options to rental models, so households have an opportunity at residence possession and
a spot to actually name their very own.

High quality of life is necessary to our residents. Protected streets, neighborhood assist and respect for all
factors of view are basic.

What accomplishments in your previous would you cite as proof you may deal with this job?

We’re all formed by our previous. When my husband handed away I had to decide on a path. I
believed I’d be a greater guardian, sister, aunt by setting an instance of neighborhood service. I
volunteered with faculty organizations and stay an lively volunteer at St. Michael’s Parish. I
serve on quite a few boards and committees and every has been a studying expertise.

As a brand new Commissioner I based the Cranford Neighborhood Connection as a approach to convey
individuals from throughout Cranford collectively. I really like seeing how that group has developed.
I imagine my greatest accomplishment is representing Cranford residents pretty and with respect.
We could not agree however I’ll at all times respect your opinion and your proper to precise it.

What’s the greatest recommendation anybody ever gave you?

My grandmothers had a variety of sayings and we nonetheless throw them on the market, generally to make a
level, different occasions simply to have a lightweight second.

One in every of my favorites, and one I attempt to dwell by day-after-day is, “deal with individuals such as you wish to be
handled”. Is not that what’s it is actually all about?

Is there anything you want to voters to find out about your self and your positions?

Within the wake of Hurricane Irene, I used to be just about at a loss about the best way to transfer ahead. Whereas I
did not endure the extreme damages that different households endured, I had no flood insurance coverage and I
did not have the sources to exchange a heating system and all of the home equipment in my basement.
FEMA determined that 600 {dollars} would make all of that proper. I appealed and misplaced. Then I
turned to my Congressman for assist. Leonard Lance went to bat for me and FEMA overturned
their resolution and helped to exchange my heating system.

The devastation residents endure due to flooding wants to remain within the forefront of Cranford’s
consciousness. The monetary influence could be measured and cured, the emotional influence is a
totally different story. In a flood we additionally lose touchstones and connections to our previous. We want assist
to verify residents do not endure by way of this once more. I’ll battle for that assist.

It was due to Congressman Lances’ help that I made the choice to run for public
workplace. You possibly can battle for the better good, and you may battle to make a distinction for one individual.
Success just isn’t assured however it’s value making the hassle.


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