The mayoralty and three seats on the Fair Haven Borough Council are up for grabs in the November 6 election.
On the ballot are Republican Mayor Ben Lucarelli, who is running unopposed; incumbent Republican Councilwoman Elizabeth Koch and her Republican running mates Jim Banahan and Jacquie Rice; and Democrats Evan Hughes, Cameron Spector and Carolyn Williams.
Here are Koch’s written responses to questions posed to all Fair Haven candidates recently by redbankgreen.
Name: Elizabeth Koch
Address: 27 Sycamore Lane, Fair Haven, NJ 07704
How long have you been a resident of Fair Haven? 43 years
Where did you grow up? Westchester County, Crestwood, New York
Where did you go to high school? Maria Regina HS, Hartsdale, NY
Did you graduate from college? If so, which school, with what degree?
I have a Bachelor of Science degree (B.S.) in Chemistry from the State University of New York at New Paltz and a Masters degree in Science Education (M.Ed.) from Rutgers University.
Have your served in the military? If so, which branch and when?
What do you do for a living?
I am an 8th Grade Science Teacher, Knollwood School, Fair Haven, NJ
Please tell us a little bit about your community involvement efforts, if any.
Most recently I have been actively involved in our community as a founding member of the Foundation of Fair Haven – a non-profit organization which sponsors events like Fair Haven Day and Octoberfest. Any profits realized are returned in various ways to our Fair Haven Community. One of my proudest achievements is being a member of the Wall of Honor committee at Knollwood School. The Wall of Honor recognizes the sacrifices made by Knollwood graduates who are currently serving in the armed forces and on active duty. In November 2017 I was appointed to the Fair Haven Borough Council, replacing Roland Wilhelm who resigned. I am also an active member of the Competent Community, an organization created to respond to a local crisis and sponsored by the Monmouth County Mental Health Association.
Party affiliation: Republican
How important is party affiliation to you? What does it mean to you to be a member of your party?
At the municipal level I don’t think party affiliation is very important. We are a small town and I hope our commitment to our town’s culture and values is non-partisan and transcends any specific party affiliation. I believe our town has done an impressive job of being transparent and fiscally responsible. This is directly related to the work our Council has done and not to their party affiliation.
Do you have a role model in public life? Who and why?
Eleanor Roosevelt. She was the first First Lady to become involved in politics in her own way. She gave press conferences and spoke out for human rights, children’s causes and women’s issues, working on behalf of the League of Women Voters. Eleanor was an incredible asset to her husband during WWII and was instrumental in advocating Women’s Rights in the workplace during this time. After the death of her husband, Eleanor took her place on the international stage. She chaired the subcommittee of the Commission of Human Rights responsible for drafting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, United Nations.
Why are you running for office?
I have lived in Fair Haven for more than 40 years and cannot imagine living anywhere else. I am passionate about our town and hope to continue the traditions we have created as well as preserving our culture and small town values.
What’s your opinion of the proposed borough acquisition of the former Sunoco station for the purpose of constructing a new borough hall?
Our municipal buildings: Police Station, DPW, Borough Hall and Community Center are aging and in need of some serious upgrades. Acquiring the Sunoco station is one of the ways we can address the immediate needs of our aging infrastructure with an eye towards the future of our town. I like the idea of moving the police station and community center out of a residential area and into a commercial zone. But, we are only in the initial planning stages and as we move forward we will be soliciting community input, observations and comments.
What are the most pressing issues facing the town, and how do you plan to address them?
Addressing solutions for upgrading our aging municipal buildings, finding creative ways to provide affordable housing for our seniors, developing innovative responses to meet our Fair Share Housing obligations and managing leaf, brush and yard waste collection are all important issues facing Fair Haven.
What if any specific initiatives can voters expect from you if you are elected?
My goal is to work with our Borough Administrator, Mayor and Council to find creative solutions to those issues addressed above while being fiscally responsible and maintaining a stable tax base.
If there’s anything you’d like to add, please do so here:
I consider it an honor to be able to run for Council. I have been a member of the Fair Haven community as a resident for 43 years, a teacher at Knollwood School for 20+ years and have volunteered to work for countless committees and organizations. If elected to the Fair Haven Council I would work tirelessly to maintain our sense of community as we navigate the aforementioned issues facing our town.