Thursday, October 20, 2016

Wednesday, October 26 Candidate Forum - City Council Election Publication


Third Ward City Council Candidates 



Each year, as a service to Plainfield voters, the League of Women Voters of Plainfield hosts a Candidates Forum prior to the fall election.  The policy for participation in the forum is as follows:
 
After suggestions from the League of Women Voters of New Jersey (LWVNJ), the League of Women Voters of Plainfield will allow any citizen of Plainfield who is currently on the election ballot or a write-in candidate (who has an active campaign, is being opposed and is expected to receive at least 15% of the vote in the election) to participate in its election programs.  All must submit biographical material and answers to the local League's questions to the LWV of Plainfield to be included in the forum and League of Women Voters of Plainfield’s publication.
 
A candidate who has agreed to take part in the Forum, and later finds out that he or she will not be able to attend, may submit an opening statement of the same length afforded the other candidates.  The absent candidate's statement will be read by a member of the Plainfield LWV immediately following the opening statements of the candidates who are present at the Forum. 
 
The time allotted to all candidates for their opening statements is not fixed, but is determined by the LWV Voters Services chairperson, predicated on the number of candidates who will be taking part in the Forum, and the amount of time accorded the LWV for its Forum by the host facility.  Information about the amount of time for opening and closing statements, along with all guidelines and rules is given to all the candidates in advance of the Forum.

League of Women Voters of Plainfield Forum

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Plainfield Public Library – Anne Louise Davis Room

800 Park Avenue

7:00 PM

The Biographical Sketches and Responses to LWV Questions Follow

Charles McRae
To the people of Plainfield who do not know me, “Hello, my name is Charles L. McRae.” To those who do know me, “hey neighbor.” 1228 Hazel Ave. is where I have lived for 32 years and where I have raised two beautiful and intelligent daughters with my wife Sylvia. The Queen City is my home. As a resident and active member of the Third Ward community, I am asking that you elect me to be your Third Ward Representative for the City of Plainfield. 

What makes me uniquely qualified as a candidate for City Council is my steady involvement in multiple community activities and organizations, as well as my proven track record for success working within the private and public sector. I consider myself to be a results-oriented and self-motivated person who wants to make a difference in the community. Consequently, I have worked to become the 2nd Vice President of the Plainfield Democratic City Committee, the President of the Cedarbrook Block Association, former President of the Cedarbrook Elementary School PTA, former Chairman of the Plainfield Citizen Budget Advisory Committee, and a current member of the Plainfield Zoning Board of Adjustment. Undoubtedly, I am committed to the residents of this community, as well as the growth and development of the city of Plainfield.

As the tenth of eleven children, I have always known the importance of having someone to look up to and admire. Thus, as a charter member (founder) of the Eta Epsilon Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity of Rutgers University, a charter member (founder) of the New Brunswick Alumnae Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi, a member of the Kappa League, former Chairman or the Diamond Foundation, and current board member of the Diamond Foundation, I have worked diligently to mentor young men. In fact, the Diamond Foundation, gives a scholarship in my name to an accomplished graduating high school senior every year. I am honored to know that my name is attached to something that allows someone a chance to pursue their dreams.
 
I say all this to inform you of my abilities to lead and work with others, as well as my dedication to the community. My extensive experience will enable me to make wise decisions regarding the critical needs of current and prospective issues facing the City of Plainfield. We are “One Plainfield, with One Future” and I am confident in my ability to make significant contributions and positive change within our community.  “Keep Moving Plainfield Forward” on Election Day by voting for Charles L. McRae as your Third Ward City Council Representative.

If elected, what legacy do you hope to leave by the end of your term?
I would like to leave behind a legacy as a man of the people. I want to improve senior care and youth programs. Many senior citizens depend on social security benefits as a primary source of income to cover all of their health and wellness needs. As a city, we can provide additional services to our senior citizens to supplement these benefits. By the end of my term I hope to leave a legacy of working to expand services for our senior citizens, such as activities that support the continuation of recreation and physical therapy. As for the youth, I would like to help create and support programs that encourage the children of our community to stay physically active and dream big. A healthier community is a more productive and happier community. Consequently, as Third Ward Representative, I will fight to keep the Muhlenberg site operational to serve as the local medical facility to treat the healthcare needs of all families in the City of Plainfield.

What do you see as the council’s role in the redevelopment plans for Plainfield?
I see the council’s role as an agent of progress to ensure that development is smart and sustainable. Redevelopment is important to the growth, quality of life, and health of our city. By working with administrators, the council can access the availability and feasibility of the resources needed so they can generate development and redevelopment plans to improve our community. Thus, the council will play a very integral and important role in moving Plainfield forward a reality.  

As a council member, what constituent services would you provide or support?
As an elected official, it is important to listen and understand the needs of the community and communicate that to my other political partners. I pledge to have open lines of communication with the residents of the 3rd ward. This will allow me to advocate and guide the residents of Plainfield to the appropriate agency (Senior Center, Recreation, and Human Services) who can address their needs.

How will you uphold the checks and balances between the legislative and executive branches?
Some of the most important qualities of a council member are honesty, objectivity, and accountability. I pledge to hold the legislative and executive branches to the same high standard I have always set for myself and my family. These standards include open lines of communication and acting as a liaison between two branches to make sound judgments and effective changes.

Sharon Robinson-Briggs
  •        Member, Ruth Fellowship Ministries Church, Plainfield
  •        Two Term, First Female Mayor of Plainfield
  •        College Graduate
  •        Plainfield Board of Education President
  •        Annual Plainfield Feed The Children Programs
  •        Plainfield Clothing & Food Drives
  •        President, Festival Association of Plainfield
  •        Plainfield PABA Block Association Founder and Vice President
  •        Plainfield Citizens Budget Advisory Committee (CBAC) Member
  •        Built the State of the Art Plainfield Senior Citizens Center & Veteran Meeting Hall
  •        Plainfield Angels for Action Advisory Board Member
  •        Plainfield Area NAACP Vice President
  •        Plainfield Salvation Army Advisory Board Member
  •        Developed Plainfield Anti-Gang, Anti-Gun Initiative
  •        Established the “Plainfield Live Where You Work” Program
  •        Facilitated Plainfield Contract Negotiations for Labor Unions
  •        Facilitated Plainfield Negotiations for Conflict Resolution
  •        Mayors Against Guns, Member
  •        Lectured at various educational institutions
  •        Published Author NJ Pre-Law Review Magazine, “Navigating Small Claims Court”; NJ   State League of Municipality Journal, “The Best Shared Service” and “Plainfield: A City On The Move”
  •        On Air Personality - Verizon Cable Show, Comcast Cable Show, Comcast Newsmakers, College Fund Telethon
  •        Provided Plainfield Community Garden
  •        Provided Plainfield City Hall Sitting Garden
  •        Provided Plainfield Electric Clock at Courthouse
  •        Shared Services Programs saved tax payer funds
  •        Established Employee Cafeteria & Annual Employee Appreciation Day
  •        Economic Development
  •        Guest Speaker and Panelist at Conventions
  •        Testified at Senate Hearings and Congressional Forums
  •        Recipient of over 100 Awards
  •        College Scholarship Association Founding Member
  •        National Association of Professional Women Member
  •        NJ Conference of Mayors Emeritus Advisory Council Member
If elected, what legacy do you hope to leave by the end of your term?

The legacy that I wish to leave at the end of my term as Councilwoman is one of love, honor, respect and a spirit of everyone wanting to work together for the good of our residents and stakeholders. I want to see a Plainfield Medical Facility at the Muhlenberg location as we need this more than we need more apartments, more economic development, a city-wide Youth Center, a building for all factions of our Veterans, a Career Training Center, a 25% local business minority set aside program, a movie theatre,  and a program called “Each One, Hire One”.

What do you see as the council’s role in the redevelopment plans for Plainfield?
The City Council’s role is to review and be supportive of great projects for the City of Plainfield. In between City Council Meetings, Council Members should be able to have a review session with the administration and have all of their questions answered, thereby allowing Council Members to be prepared for their meetings and to have meetings run smooth and professionally, and probably shorter time wise.

As a council member, what constituent services would you provide or support?
There should be a more formal manner of access to Council Members. Council Members should have an office space, and posted days and hours that they are available to their constituents.  There should be more free community self-help type workshops (i.e. resume writing, job development…). Also, there should be quarterly sessions with representatives from State of NJ Government and quarterly Health Fairs to meet constituents’ needs.

How will you uphold the checks and balances between the legislative and executive branches? 
I would be cordial and have a meeting with Mayor and Administration and inform them of what I would require on a monthly basis to make a good working relationship, constant show of accountability with regard to funds, including an open, transparent process and timely notification and participation in city programs and events. I would also want the City Council to be on specific committees which would allow it to review and ask questions, if necessary and to avoid the look of things begin concealed or not being done in the spirit of good will or being ethically correct. For instance, last year, the CFO made it very clear that once the Mayor and Administration gave its budget to the City Council, it did not legally have the right to go back into the budget and use funds for purposes not intended. This is what happened when the administration took funds earmarked for public safety vehicles (Police) and used it to purchase new vehicles for the Mayor and City Administrator. Council’s mandate is to handle this type situation. Hopefully, things like this would cease to occur, but should it happen again, Special Counsel should be hired to review and provide a legal opinion and suggested resolution.