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Meet the Candidates: Jim McElwee

Jim McElwee is the Democratic challenger in Tuesday's election for Galloway Council.

The general election is Tuesday, Nov. 6, and locally, there is one seat open following the resignation of Councilman Dennis Kleiner over the summer. The race is between Councilman John Mooney, who was appointed in August to fill the seat through the end of the year, and Democratic challenger Jim McElwee.

Galloway Patch asked both candidates a series of questions to help Galloway residents get a better idea of each candidate's positions on the issues. Below are the responses from McElwee:

Why are you running?

I am running for Council in Galloway Township to be part of a Team that will work to move Galloway forward. To find a way to return to financial stability, and still provide services and ensure the Public Safety of its residents.

What do you feel are the most pressing issues?

Everybody agrees the budget deficit in Galloway is paramount. Poor decisions in the past 10 years have put us on the brink of bankruptcy. Our police and emergency services have been cut to the bone, and more cuts are already scheduled for 2013. Commercial ratables have decreased because of the poor economy. Stability in our municipal government needs to improve.

What changes would you make to what the current Council is doing?

I would reach out to each council member and assure them that I am ready to work in concert with each one to come up with and implement actions that will improve Galloway. There is no time to waste on turning our Township around and back on a firm course of solid financial ground. To do this we need to reduce our structural debt and start paying as we go. Deferring payments and bonding our future can’t continue.

What are some of the positive things the current Council is doing?

Council has recently begun to provide more information on the Galloway Township website, i.e. the bills. This is a positive step in letting the public know more about the state of the township. They have tested the waters in regard to shared services with other communities, which will help save money.

What would you bring to council that nobody else can bring, i.e.strenghts, experience, etc.

I would bring a passionate and dedicated member to the council that has fostered an amicable relationship with the current members and be able to offer new ideas and plans that I think would help our recovery. I pride myself on being able to motivate myself and others in times of crisis. I am sure this Council and I would make a great team. I would advocate for more open and transparent government. Listing even more documents online to eliminate the need for so many OPRA requests, which are currently costing us money, manpower and legal fees, is important.

What is your political background? What offices have you held/run for in the past?

I am the Vice-President of the Galloway Democratic Club; a member of the Galloway Township BOE’s Superintendent's Advisory Team; a member of the Galloway Zoning Board of Adjustment; and I ran for Council in 2011.

Personal Background.

I have lived and worked in Galloway for over 15 years. I have a total of 5 children and step-children and 4 grandchildren, with another boy due in March of 2013. I own a home on Misty Lane in Galloway. I work for the SJTA at the Atlantic City International Airport. I am a Supervisor in the Transportation Services division were I lead a team of dedicated people providing parking and shuttle service to its customers.

I graduated from Lakewood High School in 1969 and also graduated from the Ocean County Vo-Tech Institute that same year.

I have attended in person almost every Galloway Township Council meeting for the past two years in an attempt to keep abreast of the issues. I have also attended as many community events as possible to speak to residents and visitors in our town, to get a good idea of what is important to them and to see what direction they would like to see Galloway move in, to give them a chance to improve the quality of life for their family.

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