Fair Haven voters will go to the polls Tuesday to elect two members of the borough council, each for a three-year term. redbankgreen reached out to the four candidates on the ballot — Jonathan Peters, Christopher Rodriguez, Shervyn von Hoerl and Rowland Wilhelm— with a questionnaire, and all four responded. Below are Rodriguez’s answers.
Here’s the ballot: fair-haven-ballot-2016. Polling stations for districts 1, 2 and 5 are at the Knights of Columbus, 200 Fair Haven Road; districts 3, 4 and 6 are at the Community Center on Fisk Street.
Name: Christopher Rodriguez
Address: 134 Buttonwood Drive, Fair Haven, NJ 07704
Where did you grow up?
Generally, I consider myself a Jersey guy. My formative years were spent in Union County…born in Elizabeth, raised in Roselle and settled for a time in Cranford. I also lived in New Brunswick while at Rutgers. I owned a place with my wife in Spring Lake for seven years leading up to moving and living full-time in Fair Haven.
How long have you been a resident of Fair Haven?
We’re going on 5 years
Where did you go to high school?
Saint Benedict’s Prep. in Newark, NJ
Did you graduate from college? If so, which school, with what degree?
Rutgers College, Bachelor of Arts, Art History
Rutgers University, Master of Arts, Communication and Information Systems
Columbia University, Columbia Business School, MBA in Finance
Have your served in the military? If so, which branch and when?
What do you do for a living? (Job title, employer, brief description of your responsibilities):
Partner, Eris Exchange, an interest rate derivatives exchange. My responsibilities are predominantly external facing involving sales, marketing, media and business development. The goal of the company is to offer sound financial instruments that help commercial borrowers enter into fixed rate debt to better manage the financing needs and growth of their businesses.
Please tell us a little bit about your community involvement efforts, if any:
I am a passionate volunteer in Fair Haven. My efforts range from Chairing the Shade Tree Commission, to coordinating and coaching recreation soccer, working on the website for Cub Scout Pack 127, to volunteering at events in town like the beloved Firemen’s Fair, Fair Haven Day, Trucktoberfest and working the Fair Haven Fields concessions stand during town activities. One of the goals/reasons I threw my hat in the ring for borough council is to further volunteer my leadership skills, passion and financial acumen to the wider community.
How important is party affiliation to you? What does it mean to you to be a member of your party?
I am closely affiliated with my party. I find deep value in the organization and the core messages. The people in Fair Haven and Monmouth County are passionate about their affiliation and have been incredibly supportive of my candidacy…for that I am truly grateful.
Who do you plan to vote for in the presidential election and why?
I hold my voting behaviors and preferences near and dear as I have historically done. I find that local political office in Fair Haven is not directly impacted by national level issues; rather, in Fair Haven, we are cleaning up the streets, compensating the teachers and police force and setting up long term plans. National politics have little, if any, impact on the topics of interest in Fair Haven.
Do you have a role model in public life? Who and why?
Yes, President John F. Kennedy is a role model for me. The President was in office during my father’s formative years and was his chief public role model. My father was an Eagle Scout, had deep interest in the public good and set a good example for me throughout the years. For those reason, I learned early to treasure public service. President Kennedy established the Peace Corp. in 1961 and had a lasting impact on our country and a generation. Though I have not traveled to foreign lands to volunteer and give back, I feel that I set a good example in my own community by getting involved as often as possible. I hope to pass this tradition of service to my own three children.
Why are you running for Fair Haven council?
It is a natural progression for me to extend my level of service and commitment to Fair Haven to the borough council. I have created a solid track record for years and feel that I have a lot to contribute to our community. My fresh ideas and innovative concepts on the revenue side of the equation will positively impact the tax payers and local merchants for years to come. I have developed friendships with the current administration and plan to contribute with vigor regardless of the election outcome.
What if any specific initiatives can voters expect from you if you are elected?
I have crafted a proposal with my running mate, Shervyn von Hoerl, called the “Shop Fair Haven Card” which serves to drive more foot traffic and transactions to local merchants while alleviating a portion of the tax burden on residents that spend their money locally. By using the new card, each household earns rewards for shopping local throughout the year. Click to learn more https://www.facebook.com/crod1972/posts/10209880408079375
Secondly, I would like to do more for seniors to keep them in town; this requires a combination of ordinances, incentives and action to prove our commitment to them. Lastly, but not any less important, I am focused on preserving our environment by dedicating energy and focus to issues facing our trees, waterfront (river and ponds) and open spaces.
If there’s anything you’d like to add, please do so here:
While I have elevated my commitment to Fair Haven by running for borough council, I draw some of my inspiration from my wife Karen Rodriguez who is also running this year for Fair Haven Board of Education. She is equally as passionate about serving and volunteering. Karen is incredibly supportive of my efforts and I try to reciprocate at every turn. As a family, we are committed to the Fair Haven community for the long run.