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Mendham Borough Council {_getChooseLabel(this.selections.length)}

Mendham Borough is governed under the Borough form of New Jersey municipal government. The governing body consists of a Mayor and a Borough Council comprising six council members, with all positions elected at-large on a partisan basis as part of the November general election. A Mayor is elected directly by the voters to a four-year term of office. The Borough Council consists of six members elected to serve three-year terms on a staggered basis, with two seats coming up for election each year in a three-year cycle.

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  • James R. Kelly
    (Rep)

  • Mary Sue Martin
    (Rep)

  • Candidate picture

    Laura Montenegro
    (Dem)

  • Candidate picture

    Melissa Young
    (Dem)

Biographical Information

What do you consider the most important challenge(s) facing your town and how would plan to address it/them?

What in you personal and/or professional experience prepares you for this office?

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There is a decades long problem of having empty store front in Mendham Borough and despite small steps taken by the Mendham Business Association, there hasn’t been much improvement in recent years. There are things we can do to help. Mendham is a walking community and there are plenty of inexpensive and effective ways to encourage visitors to stay for a while. Outdoor dining, crosswalks that guide visitors to stores, and having visible signs indicating parking areas would help add a modern and friendly flair that can draw foot traffic without changing the historic look of our community or spending exorbitant amounts of money. There is a transparency challenge with our current governing body. When Melissa Young, my running mate, attempted to bring video cameras into the Council meetings, we were was met with resistance. The law allows the taping of these meetings and we were able to locate a camera person to tape the first meeting. For the next meeting, a high school student to helped us and both of these meetings were aired on Mendham TV. It has been 25 years since a democrat has sat on the Mendham Borough Council. It has only since I began running for this office 3 years ago that there was even a choice on the ballot. We have 1,000 democrats living in Mendham and they deserve to have representation on the Council. It would be an honor to serve this community which has been my home since 1981 and the home of my children since 2005.
I earned my Master degree in Social work from Rutgers University and currently Manage Social Work at for large hospital system. I am in the process of rolling out a Community Health Worker project system wide. I have years of experience building new programs, measuring outcomes and collaborating with people and agencies. I serve on the Board of Elders at Hilltop Church in Mendham on both Personnel and Membership. I am proud to serve on the Mendham Borough Board of Health. Having earned my LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker), I understand the human condition through one-on-one and family therapy. I also serve as part-time lecture at Rutgers in the School of Social Work. It is through this pedagogical experience I am able to share my knowledge while I also learn from my students. I bring empathy, resiliency and humility to everything I do. Sharing and working as part of a team are some of one my strengths and is needed to serve on a governing body. I will use all of these skills to help our community grow, fill and become, once again, the most desirable town in New Jersey.
Mendham Borough is struggling with attracting and keeping businesses, the real estate market seems stagnant, and we need to enhance our environmental responsibility with things like banning single use plastic. But before tackling any of these things, we need to make some changes to the Council. For 25 years we have had a single party running our town. It’s time to bring a new perspective to the conversation about how to preserve our town history while improving the things that need fixing. We need dynamic leadership to engage with the community about the challenges we face and encourage frank conversations about common sense solutions. My running mate, Laura Montenegro, and I are strong advocates of transparent and accessible local government. We propose a Council that encourages dialogue with residents, gives easy access to meetings for all by airing them on Mendham TV, and encourages different voices to contribute to the conversation. Bringing in new perspectives and ideas will allow us to work together to find innovative solutions to the challenges our town has.

We have already started addressing the issue of access and transparency by recording and airing Council meetings, despite resistance from the current Council. To improve communication with residents, I also propose open office hours for Council members and using social media to reach our residents where they are.
I have a business background in sales, training, and strategic development. This experience has helped to hone strong communication, analytical, and strategic thinking skills; all traits that will serve me well as a councilwoman. I am able to collaborate and find solutions for both long and short term goals because of my ability to engage with a variety of people and find common ground for productive discussions.

As a single mother of 15 year old twins, each with their own unique needs, I’ve had to be organized, develop strong problem-solving abilities, and relentlessly pursue the right resources. These are all skills that will be put to good use as a councilwoman.

When I moved to Mendham 7 years ago because of a job relocation, I fell in love with the small-town charm. I have become increasingly involved in the community through participation in town events and serving on numerous school committees like the HSA and Music Boosters. I am currently on the Board of Health and I write a column called "Mendham Creates" for Mendham Neighbors magazine. I am committed to helping Mendham be the most desirable town in New Jersey and I strive to be a kind and connected member of the community.