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 McCue’s written responses to questions posed to all Fair Haven candidates recently by redbankgreen.
Name: Michael McCue
Address: 11 William Street
How long have you been a resident of Fair Haven? 28 years
Where did you grow up? Fair Haven
Where did you go to high school? Rumson – Fair Haven Regional a.k.a. RFH
Did you graduate from college? If so, which school, with what degree?
I graduated from Georgian Court University with a Bachelor of Arts in History and Education while simultaneously earning dual teaching certificates in Social Studies and Students with Disabilities.
Have your served in the military? If so, which branch and when?
As a U.S. Marine, I served active duty from 2003-2007 and then again for a year from 2008-09 (to assist with the withdrawal of American forces from Iraq), achieving the rank of Sergeant.
What do you do for a living?
I am a Social Studies teacher at a local middle school.
Please tell us a little bit about your community involvement efforts, if any.
Ever Since the 5th grade (‘95), I have volunteered at the Fair Haven Firemans’ Fair with the exception of the time that I was in the Marines. Now that my children are in school and playing sports, I have been a volunteer coach.
Party affiliation: Democrat
How important is party affiliation to you? What does it mean to you to be a member of your party?
As a service member and teacher, party affiliation has never meant much to me. I’ve always looked at the issues candidates have sided with. It just so happens that Democrats have traditionally resonated with my political views. On the local level, it means a lot to be a member of the Fair Haven Democratic party as they have been instrumental in providing assistance for my race. I am happy to call them friends and honored for their nomination.
Do you have a role model in public life? Who and why?
I have many role models in public life; as I wrap up my Master’s in American history, one of the interesting things that I’ve learned is that the more you know, the more complex and less definitive public figures become. With that being said, my political philosophy always circles back to agreeing John F. Kennedy’s pragmatic approach.
Why are you running for council?
Whether serving my country or community, I feel that serving others is one of the noblest acts one can do. I’ve decided to run for Fair Haven’s Borough Council because I feel that there is a demand from our community for new leadership with different perspectives. As someone who grew up in town, I have experienced what makes Fair Haven such a wonderful place to live and raise a family. Now with my own young children growing up in town, I want to ensure that the council plans for the long-term so that Fair Haven continues to be a wonderful place to live for all its residents.
What are the most pressing issues facing the town, and how do you plan to address them?
Issues I plan to focus on include Fair Haven’s public buildings and our brush grinding service. Our public works building is in disrepair and the police department’s headquarters also has serious concerns. The current council’s solution is to relocate these buildings and create a new borough hall, which would house a new police department. Like many residents, I feel concerned about such a large and costly project. I was raised that when something is broken, you try to fix it first, rather than buy a new one. With that in mind, I plan to help the council consider more cost-efficient and less drastic alternatives. Another issue important to me and many of my neighbors is the brush grinding operation which is of grave concern due to noise, pollution, and safety near our homes. In fact, I live on the street where 18-wheelers turn to deliver to this brush grinding location, so I bring first-hand views on this topic. Nothing is more important than the health, safety and quality of life of Fair Haven residents, whether it’s keeping children safe or keeping the town affordable.
What if any specific initiatives can voters expect from you if you are elected?
If elected, a priority will be to bring comprehensive communication to our town council. My running mate Meg and I already have begun responding to e-mails and Facebook messages from residents who have questions and concerns because of the lack of comprehensive communication from the council. Second, I understand that everyone can’t make the council’s meeting, so it should be streamed and the video should be archived. We as a town have many important issues that the council is going to have to make decisions on very shortly, and to best represent the town’s residents, those residents should have the same information as the council.
If there’s anything you’d like to add, please do so here:
I’d like to wrap it up with a quote from President Kennedy, “Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer.” I am running to represent all the people in Fair Haven, not just the Democrats. I truly want to do right by my fellow residents and if elected I will lead by listening to the concerns of everyone.
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.