Editor's Note: Five Woodbridge council seats are up for election on Nov. 5.
Ward 1, Democrat newcomer Nancy J. Drumm faces Republican newcomer John Vrtaric.
In Ward 2, Republican newcomer Margaret "Peg" LaTorre has challenged incumbent Democrat Richard Dalina.
In Ward 3, Democrat incumbent Michele Charmello has been challenged by Republican newcomer Cathy Andreuzzi-Kovalsky and Independent newcomer Kevin J. Garcia, Sr.
In Ward 4, Democrat incumbent James H. Major has been challenged by Republican newcomer Thomas A. Sobe, Jr. and newcomer Sanjeev Kapoor.
In Ward Five, Democrat newcomer Debbie Meehan runs unopposed.
Patch distributed a list of questions to the candidates to give them a chance to express their positions on local issues. Their responses will be printed as we receive them, up to election day.
Name: Cathy Andreuzzi-Kovalsky
Education: B.A. Education, Masters in the Art of Teaching, Masters in Administration, In Progress: Doctorate in Educational Leadership
1. Please introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your background and why you should be elected: I have been a resident of Avenel for 11 years. I have been an educator for 35 years with a Master's degree in the Art of Teaching and a Master's degree in Administration. I am currently finishing my doctoral degree in Educational Leadership. I am also a member of the Elks.
As an educator and student, I have developed fine organizational, listening, management, and communication skills which can benefit me as a council member. I have also served on school management teams and as a mentor for student teachers. In addition, I have established and coordinated various community involvement programs such as the Coats for Kids program and a yearly veterans' project at the public school district where I am employed. Hence, I am experienced at identifying and motivating community members and resources that can help other members of the community and have no issue with giving of my own time.
I also have experience with personnel management and retail management and am a certified Interaction Management instructor.
2. What do you think distinguishes you from other candidates? What do you bring to the table? Management and leadership experience enabled me to develop people skills, successfully facilitate projects, develop the understanding of diverse perspectives, and gain the ability to study many solutions to a problem instead of making rash judgments.
I have been in many leadership roles, and I believe my leadership skills, Master’s in Administration, and the other important and beneficial skills I have culled in diverse roles can benefit the people of Woodbridge.
3. What are the most pressing issues facing the community today? How would you approach and resolve these issues? Collaboration is the basis for any approach to resolving a problem. I believe that "two heads are better than one" and that representation of diverse parties on the city council can lead to better decision making instead of all the power being one-sided. Woodbridge residents are entitled to fair and equal representation.
I feel that taxes can be stabilized and wasteful spending can be eliminated by opposing "no-bid" contracts and refusing tax breaks for builders and developers. Large municipal debts can be avoided by ending "rubber stamp" votes. Crumbling roads and abandoned businesses and storefronts infer a need for stronger code enforcement. The flooding issues in Port Reading and Avenel need to be taken and examined more seriously before any solid resolution to this issue can be found and deemed effective.
We can do better if we can work collaboratively to create change and make Woodbridge a better place to live.