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 von Hoerl’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: Shervyn J. von Hoerl
Address: 492 River Road, Fair Haven, NJ 07704
Where did you grow up?
I was born in Iran to an American father and an Iranian mother. We were forced out of the country by the current regime. When we finally made it to the States, we returned to my father’s stomping grounds: the San Francisco Bay Area. However, once I left to come out East for college, I never went back and have lived in the Tri-State Area since 1997.
How long have you been a resident of Fair Haven?
About 2 ½ years.
Where did you go to high school?
St. Ignatius College Preparatory in San Francisco, CA
Did you graduate from college? If so, which school, with what degree?
Dartmouth College with a Bachelor of Arts, cum laude, in History.
Have you 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):
Head of North American Portfolio & Credit Risk Management at FMS-SG New York.
I manage the North American fixed-income and derivative portfolios for the Federal Republic of Germany’s bad bank (approx. $27 bn AUM), as well as its US commercial paper platform (approx. $15 bn outstanding). Among the muni assets that we inherited were positions in Detroit, Puerto Rico and other distressed municipalities which we have since dealt with. My team and I are driven by the simple fact that every Dollar of profit we generate and every Dollar of loss we mitigate is a Dollar that does not have to be paid in taxes by residents of Germany.
Please tell us a little bit about your community involvement efforts, if any:
I believe strongly that volunteer service is the glue that binds communities together. In Fair Haven I am a recreational soccer coach and Vice Chair of the Fair Haven Municipal Democratic Committee. I have had the privilege of volunteering at Trucktoberfest and at the Sickles Book Fair. In addition to what I do in town, I interview perspective students on behalf of Dartmouth College and act as Treasurer for a small 501(c)3 organization as well as mentor to several start-up non-profits. It is this belief in giving back to my community that drove me to run for Borough Council the last two years.
Party affiliation: Democrat
How important is party affiliation to you? What does it mean to you to be a member of your party?
As an immigrant whose family lost everything in the Iranian Revolution and had to start over, whose family benefited from Social Security which enabled us have a roof over our heads and food on the table while we started over, and who has benefited from Pell Grants and FFELP loans in order to finance my education, I believe strongly in the core tenets of the Democratic Party: everyone deserves access to the American Dream, irrespective of age, race, religion, national origin, physical or mental disability, gender, or sexual orientation.
Who do you plan to vote for in the presidential election and why?
Voting is an important responsibility that comes with being a citizen of the United States and, as such, I will vote in the upcoming presidential election as I have in every presidential election since I came of age in 1992. However, it’s important to remember that at the Borough level there isn’t a Democratic way to pave our streets or a Republican way to pick up our garbage. What does matter is the vision and the fresh ideas that my running mate, Christopher Rodriguez, and I are bringing to the table.
Do you have a role model in public life? Who and why?
As a young adult, I had the good fortune to meet and be mentored by Peter McPherson who has enjoyed a long and storied career of public service. After stints in the Peace Corps and the Gerald Ford Administration, he held several positions in the Reagan Administration, including Administrator of USAID, where was a vocal advocate for global reproductive health programs. He left the Reagan Administration to join BofA where he was a key player in the resolution of the Latin American debt crisis. Leaving BofA, he became President of Michigan State University. Understanding how vital an affordable, high-quality education was in attaining the American Dream, he never raised tuition by more than the inflation rate.
Peter taught me that that if I wanted to have a meaningful impact on the world around me I would have to combine a thorough understanding of fiscal issues with the willingness to ask people what they need to get done, to figure out the formal and informal rules and to be willing to challenge orthodoxy and not be afraid to do things differently.
Why are you running for Fair Haven council?
Borough Council seems like a natural way for me to volunteer in my community in a way that will allow me to apply my finance background with my willingness to communicate and connect with the residents of Fair Haven in order to roll out fresh and innovative ways of identifying and addressing the needs of all residents including our seniors and our Fire/EMS volunteers.
What if any specific initiatives can voters expect from you if you are elected?
My running mate, Chris, and I have developed a proposal, called the “Shop Fair Haven Card” which serves to both drive foot traffic to our local merchants and alleviate some portion of the tax burden on our residents, both directly and indirectly. By using the Card, each household will earn a reward for staying and shopping locally year-round, while Fair Haven store fronts become more valuable to merchants. Please visit https://www.facebook.com/Shervyn4FairHaven/posts/1878274162395785 to learn more about the program.
If there’s anything you’d like to add, please do so here:
There are no simple solutions to the long-term issues facing us: keeping our seniors in town, preserving our environment and protecting the small-town character of Fair Haven. But I promise that Chris and I will bring unrelenting focus to these issues and will continue to actively listen and respond to the concerns raised by our fellow residents.