It's been barely a week since Republican Township Committeeman Scott Spitzer announced he has decided against seeking re-election to his seat on the governing body, and since then two members of the Bernards Township Planning each have said they would like to fill that spot next year.
Carol Bianchi, this year's chair of the Planning Board, and Kevin Orr, chairman of the township Board of Adjustment and a member of the township Planning Board, both said they are seeking the Republican municipal committee's endorsement for this year's official Republican candidate for Township Committee.
Although Republican candidates for Township Committee have faced competition from Democratic challengers in recent years, the Republicans have managed to hold onto all five seats on the committee since Democrat Bill Allen held a spot for four terms, up through 2001.
The Republican Municipal Committee met Monday and conducted its regular business, Orr reported. He said the members briefly discussed the process for the committee's screening of candidates for Township Committee, which will take place in March.
Orr said he is proud of his record of achievements in serving simulataneously on both the zoning and planning boards, with 16 years of combined service to the boards from 2006-2013. He added he has been chairman of the zoning board since 2009, "But there is much more I want to accomplish. From sound financial management, to sensible land use planning and development, to addressing community concerns relating to services, taxes, education, and recreation, I want to be part of our Township Committee’s solution."
Orr said that many of the issues facing the township now and in the future will be land-use issues. He said his background has given his unique insight into those issues.
Orr, a practicing lawyer also said he has experience as an owner of a small business. He said he is an advocate for small businesses, a member of the Republican Municipal Committee since 2007, a husband and father of two.
"I want to bring my experiences to the Township Committee and bring to it the values by which I live, including investing in the future, living within a budget, and stepping up in service of others," Orr said.
He said he has been, and will remain, devoted to, active in, and accessible to our community. If residents have matters they want to talk about, my cell phone number is (973) 432-3017.
Bianchi has announced that she too will seek the endorsement of the Bernards Township Republican Municipal Committee to run for the Township Committee. She said she will seek election to the seat of Township Committee member Scott Spitzer, who has announced that he will not seek re-election.
Bianchi said she has been a resident of Bernards Township since 2001 and now lives at 55 Spring House Lane.
In early January, she was unanimously selected as chairperson of the Bernards Township Planning Board. She said she served as the Planning Board's vice-chair in 2011. She said she had previously served on the zoning board and Environmental Commission.
As organizer and co-leader of a citizens group, Citizens for a Clean and Safe Millington Quarry, Bianchi said she has advocated for a ban on the quarry’s importation of fill to prevent further contamination and heavy truck traffic.
Bianchi is an active volunteer in the school district. She currently is president of William Annin Middle School Athletic Organization, and parent liaison to the Bernards Township school district's curriculum committee.
Bianchi is a graduate of Rutgers University where she completed an internship in Johnson & Johnson’s Government Affairs department. She then worked as a legal publisher, and graduated magna cum laude from Seton Hall Law School in 1992. She clerked for a New Jersey Chancery Equity judge and practiced general and employment litigation, she said. Bianchi is a 2010 graduate of Leadership Somerset, where she said she spearheaded a project to increase recreational use and stewardship of Somerset County’s rivers.
Bianchi said that she is dedicated to continuing the Township Committee's outstanding fiscal management, keeping taxes in check and controlling development. She said that she seeks to increase public communication and encourage greater participation in government. Additionally, Bianchi said that she believes keeping informed of local issues concerning all residents, such as utility emergency preparedness and recreational needs is essential to being an effective representative of the community.
"I have vast experience serving the community, and I think I can best serve in this capacity [on the Township Committee] right now, Bianchi said.
She said she has has been married to her husband, Richard Bianchi, for 23 years, and they have four children in Bernards Township public schools.
More on Orr's background
Orr said he and his wife, Sherilyn Pastor-Orr, “Sheri," have been married for 18 years, and have two children in the fifth and eighth grade attending township schools. He said many residents in the township know his wife by her maiden and professional name of Pastor, and for her involvement in the Liberty Corner Elementary School PTO.
He said his family has lived in Bernards Township for the past 11 years at 28 Squire Court.
Since 2004, he said he has served as the President of the Canterbury Estates Homes Owners Association, representing 55 homes.
Prior to moving into Canterbury, we resided in Long Hill Township for 7 years, he noted. Counting the years I was raised in nearby Bridgewater, where he graduated in 1983 from the former3, Bridgewater Raritan HS East), I have been a resident of Somerset County for 29 years.
Orr added he has coached many different sports teams for my children, including, coaching andmanaging my son’s Little League teams; coaching his daughter’s recreation basketball teams; and coaching his son’s recreational basketball and soccer teams. He said he has participated in the Adventure Guides Program with both of his children, serving as the “Navigator," or group leader, for both.