Two borough council seats are up for grabs in Fair Haven’s November 5 election.
On the ballot are incumbent incumbents Jon Peters and Jacquie Rice, both Republicans, and Democratic challengers Meg Chrisner-Keefe and Mike McCue.
Here are Chrisner-Keefe’s written responses to questions posed to all Fair Haven candidates recently by redbankgreen.
Name: Meghan Chrisner-Keefe
Address: 25 Beechwood Place
How long have you been a resident of Fair Haven?
My family moved to Fair Haven when I was 8. Following law school, my husband and I returned to Fair Haven in 2012 to raise our family.
Where did you grow up?
Where did you go to high school?
Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School.
Did you graduate from college? If so, which school, with what degree?
Yes, Syracuse University with a degree in public relations and Seton Hall University School of Law with a Juris Doctor.
Have your served in the military? If so, which branch and when? No.
What do you do for a living?
I am a practicing attorney at the law firm Smith Eibeler at Bell Works in Holmdel. We litigate all types of employment matters, including representing employees in wrongful termination, discrimination and sexual harassment matters.
Please tell us a little bit about your community involvement efforts, if any.
I am a member of the Fair Haven Natural Area Committee which cares for and protects the trails in Fair Haven Fields. I volunteer annually at the Firemen’s Fair and other community events. I worked with a small group of community members to raise funds for the toddler playground at Fair Haven Fields. I have been and will continue to be a regular and active participant at council meetings, as well as other meetings of our committees and boards.
Party affiliation: Democrat.
How important is party affiliation to you? What does it mean to you to be a member of your party?
While my personal ideals resonate with the democratic party, at the municipal level of government I do not believe party affiliation plays a substantial role. If elected, I will be responsible for representing the collective voice of Fair Haven’s residents and translate ideas and concerns to votes and decisions.
Do you have a role model in public life? Who and why?
There are many individuals who encourage me daily to continue participating and engaging in public discourse. It is the unsung heroes performing service and outreach within our local community who inspire me to continue listening, engaging, speaking up and making a proactive effort to effectuate positive change in Fair Haven and beyond. If I am elected, I look forward to joining their ranks and serving our community.
Why are you running for council?
I have a strong appreciation for democracy and believe there is opportunity for improved representation in Fair Haven. I’ve been speaking up at council meetings for some time now and decided it’s time to step up. I want to engage with and support our community of active and interested residents who desire transparency, comprehensive communication and inclusivity in Fair Haven’s future. At present, Fair Haven is facing many changes and challenges. I am prepared to address our town’s concerns with my background and skills as a practicing attorney. Further, I have a deep understanding of Fair Haven – both as a child growing up here and now as a taxpayer and parent – this perspective will inform each decision. It is our community of people and the character of our town that make it so wonderful and I believe it is critically important to ensure our residents’ voices are being heard; that means not just listening, but taking consonant actions. Fair Haven has strong traditions and sense of community that will continue to evolve and I am committed to serving the community in which I was raised and am now raising my own children.
What are the most pressing issues facing the town, and how do you plan to address them?
If elected, I have several goals to improve representation and focus on the future success of our community.
Bicycle and pedestrian safety in Fair Haven are chief concerns, particularly for our children traveling to and from school. It is critical we implement changes to reduce risk, including elimination of commercial vehicles servicing the borough from our roads during school travel hours. For the benefit of all residents and to support safe routes to school, I would like to implement additional bike and pedestrian infrastructure improvements including sidewalks and bike lanes, pop-up projects and crosswalk lights.
I have concerns about the influx of development in Fair Haven’s downtown district and want to examine and ensure future changes reflect Fair Haven’s values, including proposed relocation and redevelopment of borough facilities, Fair Share Housing plan and commercial development. With resident input and participation throughout the process, our entire community’s ideas and concerns can be reflected in the final product.
Fiscal responsibility is on everyone’s mind and it is prudent that our budget is closely examined, including a more complete public presentation of our borough’s budget so residents can fully understand Fair Haven’s revenues and expenditures. With more information and better understanding of our finances, an open dialogue can be established about Fair Haven’s taxes and whether our finances reflect shared values.
I hope to improve transparency and awareness with more timely and comprehensive transfer of information between residents and Council. Hearing residents’ concerns and ideas, as well as addressing questions and inquiries are a primary goal of mine so I can understand what is important, inform key issues and translate it into action items. I am approachable, listen and will take action to impact positive changes in Fair Haven.
What if any specific initiatives can voters expect from you if you are elected?
I plan to explore all possibilities to reduce or eliminate the impact our brush grinding facility has on the nearby residents and our adjacent recreation and green spaces. To improve awareness and accessibility to borough happenings, I hope to establish a system to live-stream meetings and thereafter archive them for future access.
If there’s anything you’d like to add, please do so here:
I’d like to thank all of our elected and appointed officials who work hard and generously volunteer their time and skills to our amazing town. I hope to earn your vote and have the opportunity to serve the Fair Haven community as an elected official.
The candidates for council are scheduled to participate in a forum hosted by the League of Women Voters at Bicentennial Hall Wednesday night.
Find the ballot here. And below are the locations of polling places by district.