FAIR HAVEN: RODRIGUEZ Q&A

Christopher Rodriguez. (Click to enlarge.)

Two three-year terms on the Fair Haven Borough Council are up for grabs in the November 7 election. On the ballot are four candidates: incumbent Republican Susan Sorensen and her running mate, Betsy Koch; and incumbent Democrat Christopher Rodriguez and his running mate, Jessica Patel.

Here are Rodriguez’s written responses to questions posed to all four candidates recently by redbankgreen.

Name: Christopher Rodriguez

Age: 44

Address: 134 Buttonwood Drive

How long have you been a resident of Fair Haven? 6 yrs

Where did you grow up? Roselle NJ

Where did you go to high school? St Benedict’s Prep in Newark NJ

Did you graduate from college? If so, which school, with what degree?

Rutgers College, BA in Art History

Rutgers University, MA in Information Systems

Columbia University, Columbia Business School, MBA, Finance

Have your served in the military? No, I haven’t served in the military

What do you do for a living?

Entrepreneur, co-founder and part owner an interest rate swap exchange, Eris Exchange and currently also hold a full-time management role as Global Head of Workflow at Symphony, a financial technology start-up backed by major financial and technology firms including JP Morgan, Citi, BlackRock and Google.

Please tell us a little bit about your community involvement efforts, if any.

  • Councilman in Fair Haven
  • Council Committee member for Facilities, Planning and Zoning
  • Former Shade Tree Chairman and Commissioner
  • Active participant of the FH Fields Natural Area and former liaison to the FHNA Committee from the Shade Tree Commission
  • Fair Haven Rec Soccer Coach, 2nd grade boys
  • Fair Haven Rec Soccer Coordinator, 5th/6th grade girls
  • Volunteering at events includes FH Natural Area Volunteer Day leader, Fireman’s Fair, Fair Haven Day, Oktoberfest
  • Cub Scout Pack 127 leader and volunteer

Party affiliation: Democrat

How important is party affiliation to you? What does it mean to you to be a member of your party?

Party affiliation is important for a few reasons:

  • Provides a general platform and core values
  • Provides an organization for neighbors that share similar values to associate with
  • Helps folks identify with shared ideas like empathy, transparency and fairness

Do you have a role model in public life? Who and why?

I admire several public figures from the past and present, but role model was also important to my father, President John F. Kennedy.

President Kennedy was focused on many themes, but for me it was his emphasis on public service… “What you can do for your country.” President Kennedy’s signature action was the roll out the Peace Corps. At the time, the new movement and focus on volunteering to help those in need was quite impactful to my father who passed that passion and focus down to me. This is a key reason why I serve the Fair Haven community the way I do.

Why are you running for Fair Haven council?

I get this question often and it’s pretty simple, I am passionate about getting involved in my community. I relish the opportunity to contribute my financial and business skills and expertise to Fair Haven with the goal of offering sound decision making for today’s issues and generations to come.

What are the most pressing issues facing the town, and how do you plan to address them?

I have come to learn that we don’t have major issues in town. Rather, we have opportunities to improve on what we have. I would like to preserve the traditions and values that make our community so special. I’d like to explore ways to manage our finances while investing in important projects for the advancement of the town. When I look around the county, state and the rest of the country, I count myself lucky to live and serve the community of Fair Haven.

What if any specific initiatives can voters expect from you if you are elected?

I am particularly interested in carrying on the road pavement improvements, new curbs, sewers and new sidewalk programs that have been kicked off this year. I believe the safety of our pedestrians, cyclists and drivers is paramount in the community. I’d like to continue to serve on the facilities committee to carry out improvements in our infrastructure to be enjoyed for decades to come through quality work and planning.

If there’s anything you’d like to add, please do so here.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the contributions of my family to my efforts in town. My wife Karen is a tireless partner in supporting my efforts both by filling in if I’m at a meeting or providing me sound advice when I am weighing the pros and cons of various situations. I’d also like to mention the support and enthusiasm of Elizabeth, Isabella and Jack, my three children. They are really involved in the volunteering and charitable aspects of what Karen and I do. I hope they carry on the passion for serving that is deeply engrained in our family. A good example of this happening is that my son is following a path as a Cub Scout and already wants to be an Eagle Scout like myself and my father before me.

Find the ballot here. And below are the locations of polling places by district.

1Knights of Columbus200 Fair Haven Road
2Knights of Columbus200 Fair Haven Road
3Fair Haven Community Center35 Fisk Street
4Fair Haven Community Center35 Fisk Street
5Knights of Columbus200 Fair Haven Road
6Fair Haven Community Center35 Fisk Street