Zipprich_edEd Zipprich at home on River Road.

On Nov. 4, Red Bank voters will have four ballot choices for two seats on the borough council, now composed of four Democrats and two Republicans.


Both open seats, by happenstance, are held by Republicans: Grace Cangemi, who is running for re-election, and James Giannell, who is not running; he’s serving out the tail end of the term from which freeholder candidate John Curley resigned in July.

Today through Thursday, redbankgreen will post an interview a day with each of the candidates. Instead of transcripts, we’ve got the complete audio. The interviews are between 22 and 33 minutes in length. [See the editor’s note at bottom of story.]

The interviews are not meant to be literal head-to-head comparisons. Rather, they cover some common issues — including taxes, a community center and healthcare coverage for the mayor and council — while exploring each candidate’s own experiences a bit in order to shed some light on who they are and how they think.

We’ll go in reverse alphabetical order, starting with Democrat Ed Zipprich today, Republican John Tyler Jr. tomorrow, Democrat Juanita Lewis on Wednesday and ending with Cangemi on Thursday.

After losing his first bid for elective office last November to Grace Cangemi by just 59 votes out of nearly 2,200 cast, Ed Zipprich made it clear to supporters that, undaunted, he wasn’t going anywhere.

And in fact, he continued his work on the borough’s Historic Preservation Commission, helping shepherd through the council a plan to designate the Washington Street area as an historic district; serving on the planning board as an alternate and on the master plan review committee; and getting involved in the newly revived Red Bank Borough Education Foundation, which seeks to upgrade and preserve the 17-acre Primary School property as an environmental teaching center.

A 48-year-old “retired” (his word) office manager for international law firms and father to a college-aged daughter, Zipprich says he wants to use his experience as a budget hawk, combined with what he and running mate Juanita Lewis call their “progressive” Democratic ideas, to help shape the town’s future. He talks in terms of a five-year commitment: the past two years as a volunteer and candidate, and the next three on the council — which is not to say he’d limit himself to one term.

“I believe that it’s important to protect the historic fabric of our town; that we make sure that it’s a viable place to continue to live and work for our residents and our businesspeople, and I think my background as a business manager will lend itself to governing here in town,” he says.

Here’s the full 33-minute conversation, which took place on the back steps of the home Zipprich shares with a partner on River Road:

[Editor’s note: When we interviewed the candidates, we did not plan to run the actual recordings; that decision came later. All candidates consented to being recorded, but at the time, they were told that “verbatim transcripts” of the interviews would appear.

One of the candidates has since expressed a concern about not having been aware that the full recording would run. For that, we apologize to all the candidates. But we’ll take our lumps for deciding after the fact to use the recordings. We think they reveal more, both positive and negative, about the candidates, than a transcript ever could, and are thus more valuable to voters.]

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