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: Richard A. Dalina
Education: St. Joseph's High School, Metuchen
1. Please introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your background and why you should be elected: As a lifelong resident of Woodbridge Township, I reside in Fords with my wife and two adult children.
I have served on the Executive Board of the Fords Clara Barton Youth Baseball League, was a Manager and Coach for Fords Bearcats Youth Association and a member of the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation.
For the past 21 years as a Councilman, I have worked hard to represent the needs of all of our citizens and business owners. My efforts as a Councilman and Commissioner for the Woodbridge Redevelopment Agency have brought improvements to all of the 2nd Ward, including Fords, Hopelawn and Keasbey.
I have a proven track record of accomplishments including: Bringing much needed improvements to the business corridor along New Brunswick Ave. (i.e., sidewalk pavers, decorative lighting, etc.); Addressing quality of life issues (i.e., property maintenance, traffic); Reconfiguration of the intersection of Main St. and Ford Ave. to control and improve traffic flow; Partnering with Middlesex County to complete the Greenway project which has provided much needed recreational space for walkers and bicyclists; New playgrounds at our parks and grammar schools; Began the milling and resurfacing project which has allowed for more streets to be improved; and so much more.
2. What do you think distinguishes you from other candidates? What do you bring to the table? For much of my life, I have contributed back to the very community that I was raised in and look forward to continuing doing so. I have and will continue to make myself available to anyone who needs and will continue to speak up for everyone in the 2nd Ward; families, seniors, youth, and business owners alike. As a former businessman, I bring a level of experience that deals with employees, budgeting, purchasing and customer service.
3. What are the most pressing issues facing the community today? How would you approach and resolve these issues? Maintaining a stable tax base is paramount. I have worked with multiple mayors over the past two decades and will continue to do do with Mayor McCormac and his administration to hold the line on spending while still providing the services our residents have been accustomed to receiving.