By DUSTIN RACIOPPI
After six years on the township committee, including a stint as mayor, Deputy Mayor Pamela Brightbill is “passing the baton” and will not run for re-election this year, she says.
Taking her place on the ballot, alongside Mayor Tony Fiore, is zoning board member Stephanie Murray.
Murray and Fiore will run on the Republican ticket against two Democrats who’ve each made unsuccessful runs for the committee.
Democrats Jim Grenafege and Alex DeSevo filed their nominations Friday afternoon. Neither could be reached for comment.
Brightbill said public office was never a goal of hers when she moved to town 30 years ago, but she became immersed in the community and grabbed at the opportunity to sit on the township committee. Now is the time to close the book on politics, she said.
“In my mind it’s always been a small chapter in my life,” she said. “I enjoyed every minute of it. It’s kind of the right time for me.”
Grenafege ran for council in 2008, and DeSevo ran in 2003. Grenafege, in the meantime, has been a regular at township committee meetings, regularly taking the microphone to question the committee’s decisions and, at times, engage in heated arguments with members over spending and transparency.
Murray is a 35-year-old mother of three who runs a small publishing company.
Murray, who has served on the zoning board, housing authority and runs a monthly group at the Middletown library called “Middletown Mornings,” said she’d been mulling a run for the committee, but it wasn’t until Brightbill decided she wouldn’t run again that she had an opportunity.
“It was something I had in the back of my mind,” Murray said. “When Pam decided not to run, I jumped on it.”
She’s running on a platform to keep taxes down, she said, and “whatever we can do to improve our way of life.”
Fiore, who currently serves as mayor, will seek re-election for a second term. Under Middletown’s committee form of government, the mayor position rotates on a yearly basis. Unlike neighboring municipalities that have an elected mayor form of government, the committee elects a member to serve as member for a one-year term.