News About the Democrats

100+ Cranford Women Support Kate Rappa for Cranford Township Committee

More than 100 Cranford women have come together to endorse and show their strong support for Kate Rappa’s candidacy for Township Committee. These women know Kate is a proven leader who is smart, open-minded, innovative and takes a thoughtful approach to decision making. Her professional background in finance and best business practices will be an asset as the Township continues to deal with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

We need to elect a leader who understands the challenges facing Cranford and who is able to recognize the opportunities to enhance our quality of life.

Kate, like so many women, juggles family and community volunteerism. Kate cares about Cranford and already contributes as a volunteer on the Library Board, Planning Board, Environmental Commission, Cranford Unity Project, Bloomingdale Ave. School, Newcomers Club and Cranford Soccer Club. Kate Rappa is the person Cranford needs now as we plan for the future.

Kathleen Miller Prunty

Lynda Feder 

Patricia MacLean                  

Kristen Mider                          

Julie Farrell                              

Tina Re Browning                  

JoAnn Boyle                            

Molly Kellett                           

Catherine Venditti                

Carol McLaughlin                  

Michelle Petrino                    

Lauren Curcio Thomas        

Carrie Kosta                             

Amanda Procaccino Prunty

Diane Sen                                 

Hiba Quaraman                     

Danielle DiMeglio                 

Sandy Sjursen                         

Jillian Guarini                          

Warda Qaraman                    

Liz Kellett                                  

Michelle Stavrou                   

Andrea D’Alessio                   

Kathleen Curran                    

Melissa D’Mello                     

Regina Illing                             

Holly Gessner                         

Tara Rice                                   

Evie Schulman                        

Teresa Mansbach                  

Judy Viana                                

Courtney Mayo                      

Lauren Aulson                        

Lisa Hom                                   

Daniela Shebitz                      

Kaitlin Kunsman                     

BJ Kowalski                              

Patricia Pavlak                        

Lindsay Lehault                      

Karen Bennett                        

Julie Murphy                           

Kerry Durante                         

Camille Widdows                  

Nikki Savino Mulcahy          

Jessica Harring                       

Jodi Tuisku Bigden                

Carly Nguyen                          

Lauren Walsh                          

Mary Ragazzo Reilly             

Eileen Martines                     

Stephanie Zupko                   

Jennifer Jurkowich               

Kristin Cohen                          

Jennifer Rodriguez               

Kate Ryan                                 

Shaina Panos                          

Meaghan Bottino                  

Rosalia Kolibas                       

Rebecca Trump                      

Kathleen Reilly Streicher    

Nicole Fabian-Weber          

Jennifer Goodwin                 

Allyson Kunzelman               

Evan Hooper                           

Erica Schwarz                         

Samantha Ulan                      

Nicole McDermott                

Danielle DeCostello              

Kristin Ferrara                        

Maria Luisa Rodriguez        

Rima Borden                           

hannon Gallo                          

Martha Sturm

Ann Dooley

Peg Dooley            

Deidre Trama        

June Brown

Laura Kruglinski

Madeleine Bither

Rebecca McDonough

Mary Lou Pastore

Jill Wohrle

Paula O’Hara

Mai Reitmeyer

Christine Bove      

Claire Cooper

Denise Salvatore

Amanda Padilla Byrnes

Annadele Markowitz

Lauerin Gareis

Patty Spinner

Susan Burke          

Kelly Gambardella

Carol Berns

Heather Foley

Kristen Mosier      

Lora Turon

Jackie McGill

Rosanna Byrum

Courtney Baginski

Lauren King

Galadriel Hasbrouck

Tara Giblin

Mona Patterson  

Christina Paolillo

Lesley Shaw

Victoria Brady

Elizabeth Rivera   

Genna Degan

Union County Clerk Provides Answers to Questions about Vote-by-Mail

This press release is from the County of Union.

Union County Clerk Joanne Rajoppi urges voters to familiarize themselves with Vote-by-Mail procedures in advance of receiving their Vote-by Mail ballot for the  November 3 General Election. By Executive Order of New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, the General Election will be held mainly through Vote-by-Mail ballots.

“Although the July 7 Primary Election was conducted by mail, the process is still new to many Union County voters. It is important for every voter to understand how to fill out and return their Vote-by-Mail ballot, to ensure their voice is heard on Election Day,” said Ms. Rajoppi.

“Inaccurate information can easily travel across social media, which makes it all the more important for voters to become familiar with Vote-by-Mail,” added Ms. Rajoppi. “Vote-by-Mail is a reliable and accurate way to vote.”Sign Up for Cranford NewsletterOur newsletter delivers the local news that you can trust.This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Vote-by-Mail ballots will be mailed to voters beginning this September. The mailings will continue through the first week of October.

To help voters learn about voting in the General Election, Ms. Rajoppi has posted FAQs on the County Clerk’s elections website, unioncountyvotes.com, and on the free Union County Votes mobile app.

Among the most frequently asked questions are:

1. Who is going to automatically receive a VBM (Vote-by-Mail) ballot?

All active, registered voters will automatically be mailed a VBM ballot. Please be sure to read the instructions carefully before filling out the ballot.

2. Do voters need to file an application to receive a VBM ballot?

No. VBM ballots will be sent automatically to all registered voters for the November 3 election. Governor Murphy’s Executive Order acts as the application from the voter.

3. Can I vote at a polling place?

A limited number of polling places will be open on November 3 for voters who are disabled and need to use a voting machine. Any other voter coming to the polling location to vote will be given a paper or provisional ballot.

4. How can I return my VBM ballot?

There are multiple ways to return a VBM ballot prior to Election Day, and on Election Day.

A. Use any one of the 13 ballot drop-off boxes that will be placed at various locations in Union County. The locations will be announced in September.

B. Drop it off at the County Clerk’s offices in Elizabeth at 2 Broad Street and in Westfield at 300 North Avenue East, or at the Board of Elections office in Elizabeth at 271 North Broad Street.

C. Send the ballot by U.S. Mail. Pre-paid postage is provided on the ballot return envelope.

D. On Election Day, voters can bring their VBM ballot to their designated polling place.

For more information about all County Clerk programs and services, visit online at ucnj.org/county-clerk or call 908-527-4787.

For more information and updates on all Union County services during the COVID-19 outbreak, including guidance on the free Drive-Through Test Center at Kean University, visit ucnj.org/coronavirus-update.

For general information about COVID-19 and phone contacts for 24/7 assistance with questions, visit the New Jersey Department of Health at nj.gov/health.

Connect with Union County on social media.

Cranford’s 2020 Township Committee Primary Election Official Results

This article originally appeared in TapInto Cranford.

CRANFORD – The New Jersey Primary Elections were held on July 7, with most voters statewide using the mail-in ballots that were sent to them several weeks ago. Cranford followed the trend, though some votes were cast at the six polling places open in the Township.

Four candidates, two Democrats and two Republicans, are vying for two seats held by Mayor Patrick Giblin and Commissioner Jean Maisonneuve on the Cranford Township Committee this November. Giblin and Maisonneuve are not seeking reelection. The Democrat ticket consists of Brian Andrews and Jason Gareis, while Chrissa Stulpin and Gina Black represent the Republican ticket. Here’s how Cranford voted in the July 7 Primary, according to the Union County Clerk’s Office:


Brian Andrews: 3,150 votes (49.99%)

Jason Gareis: 3,118 (49.48%)

Write-in: 33 votes (.52%)

Total Votes: 6,301


Chrissa Stulpin: 1,299 votes (49.75%)

Gina Black: 1,292 votes (49.48%)

Write-in: 20 votes (.77%)

Total Votes: 2,611


Democrat Candidates for Cranford Township Committee: Brian Andrews and Jason Gareis

Republican Candidates for Cranford Township Committee: Chrissa Stulpin and Gina Black

Letter: Principles for Cranford’s Economic Recovery and Business Development Task Force

This op-ed originally appeared in TapInto Cranford.

We welcome the Cranford Township Committee’s creation of a Task Force devoted to our town’s economic recovery and business development. COVID-19 continued to have a profound impacts on our lives, local businesses, and community. As the Task Force prepares to start its work, we believe seven principles should guide its priorities and decision-making.

1. Keep the Virus Contained: Coronavirus cases are spiking across the country and the Trump administration has no plan to control the outbreaks. It has been left to states and local governments to fight the virus. Our region has sacrificed too much to backslide now. Our economic recovery must be guided by science and public health concerns, including use of masks, responsible social distancing, and sanitizing hands and surfaces.

2. Support Our Schools: Families cannot return to business as usual without the safe reopening of schools. Local communities must decide how their schools approach reopening. Parents, teachers, and administrators are being asked to make extremely difficult decisions with the virus threat looming. We applaud the Cranford school system efforts to solicit community input. We believe the Task Force and Township Committee should provide all support it can to Cranford Superintendent Dr. Rubin and the School Board to support their mission of safely educating our children. This includes opening township properties, like the recently acquired tennis club and town parks, to provide more space for social distance classes if useful.

3. Open Additional Outdoor Space to Support Local Businesses: Cranford has taken a deliberate approach to closures on Alden and Eastman Streets. These steps are good, but there is more we can do. An informal poll we conducted on Cranford Talks last month found overwhelming support for additional closures and designating areas for socially distant gathering. Working with our Police and Fire Departments as well as local businesses, we should experiment with more expansive closures, including North Union Ave and areas on the south side on a temporary basis. The Task Force should also consider further easing of permitting to allow merchants to have items outside temporarily as well as set up communal locations where people can responsibly gather (as they have experimented with on Eastman). We have seen other towns take bold approaches with great success, and in past summers major streets have been closed for our regular street fairs. Rather than external vendors coming to sell gutter guards, it would be great to close our streets to support local businesses and residents.

4. Support All Cranford Businesses, Across Town and Professions: Our retail and restaurants have been hit hard by COVID-19, and there has been strong focus on supporting recovery of our award-winning downtown and restaurants. The Task Force must take into account the full economic diversity of Cranford, which includes Centennial Village, office parks, and warehouses as well as a broad range of professions. There will not be a one-size-fits-all solution given Cranford’s dynamism, and the Task Force should advance diverse policies to promote broad-based economic growth.

5. Continue to Attract New Businesses: This month’s opening of Spoonful Masala and Folklore Artisan Taco proves we remain an attractive town for new businesses. The Task Force should explore additional ways to promote Cranford and bring in additional investment. Additionally, the Task Force should work with the Planning Board, Zoning Board and Township Committee to identify areas where smart redevelopment can help both the local neighborhood and supplement our tax base in years to come, tackling eyesores like Swan Cleaners in the heart of our town.

6. Build for the Future Now: COVID-19 has forced all of us to pause and take stock of what is important as well as how to make improvements for the future. The emergency response has allowed changes we hope will be lasting, such as opening outdoor spaces to dining at local restaurants like Kilkenny House. The Task Force should consider other policies that will improve Cranford’s competitiveness and appeal for the long-term. It is encouraging that the Task Force will include members from the Pedestrian & Bicycle Safety Committee and Green Team. A more walkable, bike-friendly, and environmentally conscious town will benefit all of us in the years ahead.

7. Protect Our Township Employees and First Responders: We do not yet know the full economic impact of COVID-19 on town finances, but we will certainly be heading into difficult budgets ahead. The large majority of Cranford’s town budget is for personnel – the township employees who keep our town running and public safety departments which were our front line confronting the virus. It is important we honor our commitment to those that serve our community by protecting the personnel who helped get us through the health crisis from budget cuts.

Mayor Giblin Announces Cranford Economic Recovery and Business Development Task Force

This article originally appeared in TapInto Cranford.

CRANFORD – Mayor Patrick Giblin announced the creation of the Economic Recovery and Business Development Task Force this past Tuesday. 

According to the release, the Task Force will focus on examining the future of small business, developing strategies to strengthen their recovery, and offer recommendations for business growth both in the immediate and long term. The Task Force will be Chaired by Deputy Mayor Kathleen Miller Prunty and Co-Chaired by Commissioner Mary O’Connor.

“Early in the Pandemic emergency, I had discussions with several members of the Township Committee about long-term business recovery and growth and those conversations have continued,” said Mayor Giblin. “We are now at a point, the second phase, where we work on the strategy and decisions to ensure business retention and recruitment, continued investment, creative and innovative approaches to strengthen Cranford’s ability to stand out and ahead of other communities. The competition in the next few years will be intense and many of the old approaches will no longer work. There are no quick fixes. This recovery effort demands a critical, objective evaluation of policies that impact business and an open-minded consideration of new ideas.”

Task Force representatives will come from:

  • Downtown Management Corporation
  • Cranford Business Park Committee
  • Centennial Village Committee
  • Chamber of Commerce
  • Planning Board
  • Pedestrian & Bike Safety Committee
  • Parking Committee
  • Green Team
  • Township professional staff, as needed
  • Business and professionals with specific expertise, as needed

“As needed, the Task Force will call upon Township professional staff and others with specific expertise that would be helpful to our work,” said Deputy Mayor Prunty. “In addition, we expect to reach out to business owners and residents for feedback. We got through the first months of this emergency and now we are at a time for the planned critical evaluation of the current situation, Township policies, and what we need to do going forward to strengthen the environment for our existing businesses and be able to attract new investors.”

Cranford Democrats Announce Candidates for Township Committee: Brian Andrews and Jason Gareis

Originally posted in TapInto Cranford

CRANFORD – The Cranford Democratic Committee announced on Monday that Brian Andrews and Jason Gareis will be the Democratic candidates in the 2020 election for the Township Committee. Incumbents Patrick Giblin (D) and Jean-Albert Maisonneuve (D) decided against reelection.

Andrews was also a candidate for a Township Committee seat in last year’s election, but fell just 38 votes shy. Brian and his wife, Jill, currently raise two young children in town. He is an active member of the Cranford Jaycees, and previously served on the Parks and Recreation Committee. He also chairs the Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Committee, serves on the Raritan Valley Rail Coalition, and is a board member of the Cranford Fund for Educational Excellence. 

“Cranford is a community that comes together in tough times. When our town floods, neighbors help neighbors, and we rebuild,” said Andrews. “Even now, when we need to maintain physical distance, Cranford residents are supporting local businesses, our health professionals and first responders, and each other. It is inspiring.”

“The Township Committee has an important role responding to this health crisis, and then supporting our recovery,” he added. “I spent years serving under Democratic and Republican administrations in Washington DC, and studying how to make government more effective. Working with Cranford residents, businesses, and organizations, I want to help us come out of this even stronger in the years ahead.”  

Jason, along his wife, Lauerin, and his son live near Nomahegan Park, and enjoy spending time outdoors daily. An attorney in private practice, he has spent most of his professional career in public service with the County Prosecutor’s office.

“I am eager to now focus on public service in my local community,” Gareis said. “My family and I enjoy every day we spend living in Cranford. My eight-year-old son loves the Orange Avenue School community and playing lacrosse as part of the Cranford Lacrosse Club. From walks downtown for dinner, to township-sponsored events at the Community Center and the overall feeling of community, we are reminded every day why Cranford is such a special place.”

Serving on Cranford’s Township Committee, explained Gareis, “would allow me to use my nearly two decades of problem-solving experience to help lead Cranford forward and continue on its path as an exceptional place to live and raise a family.”

Andrews and Gareis will be up against Chrissa Stulpin and Gina Black, who will lead the Republican Ticket. The current Cranford Township Committee consists of four Democrats (Giblin, Maisonneuve, Kathleen Miller Prunty, Thomas Hannen, Jr.) and one Republican (Mary O’Connor). 

Cranford is governed under the Township form of government. The five-member Township Committee is elected directly by the voters at-large in partisan elections to serve three-year terms of office on a staggered basis, with either one or two seats coming up for election each year as part of the November general election in a three-year cycle.

The Committee members elect a chairman of the committee who assumes the title of Mayor and another who is selected as Deputy Mayor. Both positions carry one-year terms. Four of the committee members take on departmental oversight assignments as Commissioner of Finance, Commissioner of Public Safety, Commissioner of Public Works and Engineering, and Commissioner of Public Affairs. The Mayor of Cranford does not take on a departmental assignment. The Township Committee is a part-time body and the township government is run day-to-day by the Township Administrator and various department heads.

Democrats Sweep in Cranford

Democrats won big in Cranford on Election Day!

Despite the rain, enthusiasm was high in Cranford, with just over 10,000 voters heading to the polls, a 63% turnout. Last year’s turnout was just over 49%.

With more than 6,800 votes, Tom Hannen beat Republican Richard Buontempo, by more than 2,500 votes, or 62%.

Democrats now have four members on the Township Committee, Hannen,  Ann Dooley, and commissioners Patrick Giblin and Jean Maisonneuve.

In the closely-watched 7th Congressional District race, Cranford gave Democrat Tom Malinowski a 1,871-vote plurality over incumbent Republican Leonard Lance, helping him win the race. And in the US Senate race, Senator Robert Menendez eked out a 688 vote win.

On the county level, Democratic Freeholder candidates Alexander Mirabella, Andrea Staten and Kim Mouded beat their Republican rivals by 1,100 votes. Staten and Mouded will join the board in January. Freeholder Rebecca Williams beat her GOP rival by an even more robust 1,300 votes! She will hold onto Linda Carter’s unexpired term on the Board after Carter’s move to the New Jersey General Assembly.

Pre-Election House Party

Tony and Deidre Trama graciously opened their home (again) to the Cranford Democrats for a pre-election House Party.

Senator Nick Scutari, the Union County Democratic Chair (left in red), attended along with Freeholder Vice Chair Bette Jane Kowalski, Freeholder Rebecca Williams, Mayor Tom Hannen, who took a break from campaigning to stop by, and Commissioner Patrick Giblin. Also our amazing Democratic Committee. Thanks to everyone who stopped by and VERY MUCH grateful to the folks who took a couple hours before the party to knock on doors!

Freeholder Bette Jane Kowalski at the Rally for Tom Malinowski