Fair Haven voters will be asked to fill two three-year terms on the borough council in the November 3 election.
On the ballot are three candidates: incumbent Republican Susan Sorensen; incumbent Democrat Christopher Rodriguez; and his running mate, Laline Neff.
Here are Sorensen’s written responses to questions posed to all three candidates recently by redbankgreen.
Name: Susan A. Sorensen
Address: 34 Clay Street, Fair Haven
Where did you grow up? Born in Sea Bright, raised in Nutley
How long have you been a resident of Fair Haven? Since 1998
Where did you go to high school? Nutley High School
Did you graduate from college? If so, which school, with what degree? Yes, Rutgers, BA
Have your served in the military? If so, which branch and when? No.
What do you do for a living? I have work in Telecommunications since 1986, and currently work in the Wholesale Wireless Industry
Please tell us about your community involvement efforts, if any.
Here is a snapshot through the years of just some of my community involvement – Recreation Committee for 9 years
Fair Haven’s Communications Committee – improving our communications locally
Fair Haven Fields Natural Area Committee
Chaired several fundraisers to help restore Bicentennial Hall (Historic Preservation)
Fair Haven’s Fireman’s Fair (too many to count)
Teen Canteens (12 years)
Numerous PTA and PTA luncheons Committees
Developed the Dedicated Bench Program (soon to include Dedicated Trees)
Sandy Relief Packages for residents
Fair Haven’s Centennial Chair 2012
Creator and Chair of both Fair Haven Day & Fair Haven’s Oktoberfest – 9 years
Party affiliation: Republican
How important is party affiliation to you? What does it mean to you to be a member of your party?
I believe that locally your political party is irrelevant. Voting locally should be based on who is best suited to provide guidance for the Borough, for today and into the future. Someone that is dedicated to the residents of the town and listens. You must be able to do what is right for most of the town. It should not be a popularity contest; it should not be about right or left – if should be about giving back to this great community. If I had to put a label on it – I would say I am fiscally conservative, socially liberal – and overall a moderate.
Do you have a role model in public life? Who and why?
Susan B. Anthony – and the entire Suffrage Movement who stood up for women’s rights and showed that women should be treated equally to men. She was a pioneer and a leader who paved the way for the Nineteenth Amendment – which gave women the right to vote. This year has been a great tribute to this movement since it is the 100th Anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment.
Why are you running for office?
I feel that there is more than I can provide to Fair Haven and more that I would like to give to this Community. One of the projects that had me decide to run again is the anticipated and needed upgrades to our facilities.
What are the most pressing issues facing the town, and how do you plan to address them?
As mentioned above, the upgrades to the Borough’s Facilities is the move pressing issue – determining the best solutions for our DPW, Police Station and Community Center and how to ensure that the project is not a financial burden to the taxpayers.
What if any specific initiatives can voters expect from you if you are elected?
I will continue to build upon the improved communications strategy to ensure that all the residents can be informed. Also, I will remain fiscally conservative economically disciplined to lower or flatten municipal taxes.
The borough’s brush-grinding operation has become a problem for residents in the area of Hendrickson Place and William Street, with complaints about truck traffic, road safety, noise and more. What needs to be done?
I have worked with the residents surrounding the Brush Grinding Facility for the last few years, and have been instrumental in the minor improvements that have been made to ease their burden such as we are no longer triple grinding in order to shorten the timeframe of the grinding process, the police presence during these periods as well as shortening the amount of months that Rumson has use of Fair Haven’s site to coordinate with the 6 months of Fair Haven’s Brush pick-up instead of their initial 12 months. There is a Brush Grinding Committee that is reviewing all aspects of this project, and until all their findings have been forthcoming, it would be disingenuous to speculate. But I am pleased to share that Council has decided to provide notice to Rumson regarding the Interlocal Agreement that Fair Haven will not longer be accepting their Brush. This alone will be a huge relief to that neighborhood and is a great first step.
The borough government recently embarked on a third attempt to upgrade the police, community center and public works facilities.
- What if anything should be learned from the first two attempts? The Borough Facility Strategy has been evolving over time. What was misunderstood is that the initial presentations were not final projects but were concept designs to obtain public input. What was learned from the initial presentations is that we need to be clearer regarding what is being presented. Due to these misunderstandings, I pushed for and implemented better Communications to keep the residents informed and to provide FAQs, etc.
- What guiding principles would you bring to addressing the issues? The most important part of these projects is to provide residents with information, updates and clarity on the Borough’s intent and direction. We must keep in mind – Is what we are proposing a need of the Borough? Is what we are moving forward with sustainable and will be here for future generations? Is what we are proposing something that the Borough can afford? And finally – How is what we are proposing going to impact the taxpayers? Those are the guiding principles we need to use to address any issues, especially the Facility Upgrades.
Since the start of the pandemic, public meetings have been held remotely via Zoom and phone. What if any lessons from this change should be carried forward when in-person meetings can again be held?
I have advocated for upgrading our communications overall – and that would include live streaming out meetings. I feel that Zoom has been a great step in that direction.
If there’s anything you’d like to add, please do so here:
My strongest quality is that I listen – I listen to the residents and I hear what they need and then I work hard to implement solutions. I love Fair Haven and I am very community oriented. I look forward to continuing to earn your trust and your vote.
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