shrewsbury, nj, erik anderson
Erik Anderson. (Click to enlarge.)

shrewsbury, nj, election, q&A,Shrewsbury voters will choose a new mayor and two council members in the November 6 election.

Running to succeed two-term Mayor Don Burden are incumbent Republican Councilman Erik Anderson and Democrat David Dragonetti. The council contenders are Anderson’s running mates, Councilman Jeffrey DeSalvo and Council President Donald Eddy; and Democrats Carol Loeffler and Mandy Ngo.

Here are Anderson’s written responses to questions posed to all Shrewsbury candidates recently by redbankgreen.

Name: Erik Anderson

Age: 42 Years Old

Address: Shrewsbury, NJ

How long have you been a resident of Shrewsbury? 36 Years

Where did you grow up? Shrewsbury

Where did you go to high school? Red Bank Regional High School

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

The Catholic University of America – Political Science (BA)
Rutgers School of Law, Newark – Juris Doctor
Vermont Law School – Masters of Studies in Environmental Law

Have your served in the military? If so, which branch and when? No.

What do you do for a living?

I am an owner and partner with the law firm Reardon Anderson, LLC. Our firm is located in Tinton Falls on the border with Shrewsbury. As an attorney I am very proud of our firm’s work  — helping grow small, local businesses, fighting for the rights of Superstorm Sandy victims and protecting the legal rights of clients in State and Federal Court.

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

I joined the Council in 2016. Currently, I am the Chairman of the Department of Public Works, member of the Finance Committee, liaison to the Shrewsbury Board of Education and a member of the workgroup for shared services and consolidation. Prior to joining the Council, I served for six years on the Zoning Board of Adjustment. Also, I coach recreation soccer. In addition to being involved with Shrewsbury, I serve on the Board of Directors for the Eastern Monmouth Area Chamber of Commerce and as a Trustee for the Monmouth County Bar Association.

Party affiliation: Republican

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

Having worked in various levels of government, I find that political affiliation plays a lesser role in the workings of municipal government. However, as a Republican I believe in smaller government and lower taxes. Local government must be focused on providing excellent services to its residents and keeping costs for those services as low as possible. As Mayor, I am committed to putting taxpayers first.

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

My mother, Margaret.  She has instilled in me the importance of hard work, being kind to others and never letting obstacles prevent you from achieving your goals.  As a former active member of the Shrewsbury PTA, she also instilled in me the importance of giving back to our community.

Why are you running for office?

I am running for Mayor to give back to a community which has provided me so much over the years – the place where I grew up and where my wife and I are raising our three boys. As Mayor I will put the interests of Shrewsbury residents first and implement a plan to maintain our quality of life while reducing municipal operating expenses. As Mayor, I will continue to fight to ensure the most efficient town services for the lowest cost possible. I will always put taxpayers first.

Also, I believe that in order to preserve our special community, it is imperative that we continue towards sharing and consolidating services with other surrounding municipalities and the County. Due to the size of our town, fiscal realities and the “political winds” in Trenton, if we do not embrace sharing and consolidating, there will be a push to make Shrewsbury part of another, larger town. Everyone can agree that this is not in the best interest of our community.

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

Property taxes and smart development are at the top of my list.

I will do everything I can to lower property taxes for my neighbors in Shrewsbury. The only way to achieve meaningful savings is through consolidating and sharing municipal services with the County and adjoining communities.  We have already taken steps to begin this process, such as jointly purchasing a street sweeper, hotbox and jet truck with Oceanport and Sea Bright. But, we as a town must do more. Shrewsbury must continually look towards sharing and consolidating aspects of services such as dispatch, police, public works, first aid and fire departments.

With regard to smart development, it is critically important for Shrewsbury to continue planning for growth which balances the history of our town with the realities of today. In addition to protecting our historic district, Shrewsbury must continue working to attract businesses that are compatible with our community.  For example, as a member of Council, I introduced a zoning ordinance (which was adopted) banning businesses, such as pawn shops, tattoo parlors and vape shops, from operating in the Borough.

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

As Mayor I will continue to work for municipal shared services and consolidation to save taxpayers their hard-earned money. Shrewsbury and local communities must join forces without reducing constituent services or public safety. By taking these actions, we will save precious property tax dollars for so many residents. If Shrewsbury and the surrounding communities fail to get serious about municipal shared services and consolidation, Trenton will take action on this issue which will not benefit Shrewsbury. For example, Trenton is currently considering a proposal to mandate towns with a population of 5,000 or less to merge with adjoining, larger towns (Shrewsbury’s population is under this threshold).

Additionally, as Mayor I will: (1)  host “open door” meetings prior to Council meetings to allow residents the opportunity to discuss matters important to them in an informal setting; (2) request that the Council adopt an ordinance setting term limits for the Office of Mayor (starting with my term); (3) continue to fight for equitable per student funding from the state for SBS; (4) push for a fairness in Shrewsbury’s funding of RBR; and (5) create a committee to seek a suitable partner to renovate and utilize the Wardell House.

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

It has been a privilege to serve as a Councilman in the community which has provided so much to me, my family and neighbors through the years. As Mayor I will set forth a vision for Shrewsbury’s future which will preserve our quality of life and put the interests of our residents first. I will work with the Council to implement an agenda which furthers this vision so that we not only make a better Shrewsbury of today, but for future generations.

The Shrewsbury ballot, which also features elections for seats on the Red Bank Regional and borough school boards, can be found here. Polling places are listed by district below.

1 Shrewsbury Borough Fire House 783 Broad Street
2 Shrewsbury Borough Municipal Building 419 Sycamore Avenue
3 Shrewsbury Borough Fire House 783 Broad Street