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HIGHLANDS BOROUGH COUNCIL - Full Term {_getChooseLabel(this.selections.length)}

HIGHLANDS BOROUGH COUNCIL - Full Term - Vote for Two

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  • Vincent Desantis
    (N)

  • Candidate picture

    Donald Melnyk
    (N)

  • Jo-Anne Olszewski
    (N)

  • Michael Warren
    (N)

Biographical Information

What are the major challenges facing the community/district and how would you propose to address them if elected?

What qualifies you for this position, both personally and professionally?

What factors are critical to the quality of life/education in your community and what would you do to improve or preserve them?

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Campaign phone (732) 788-3021
Facebook Page bit.ly/DonsEvents
Website friendsofdon2020.org
Campaign Address C5 Hillside Ct Highlands, NJ 07732
Education BS, Mathematics, St. Peter's University
I believe Highlands needs to transform the ways in which we interact with its residents, and our website needs a significant refresh. Now more than ever we are all seeing the need for meeting people where they are. Like most folks I know, I feel that nothing is better than in-person interactions. As we have seen in 2020, that is not always an option and this town needs to adjust to that reality. My experience with our town’s website at times has been less than ideal. We need to find ways to make information about the town more consumable. I believe finding information should not feel like going on a treasure hunt. We can do better, and this type of transformation is something which I have direct experience in delivering. Also it is no secret that Highlands could put additional revenue to good use, but that revenue should not be exclusively found in the pockets of homeowners. By bringing businesses into town, we can increase our tax revenue stream and reduce the need to pass cost on in the form of higher property taxes, higher rents or increased municipal debt. Lastly, we have properties which are ripe for development and investors who recognize that being part of Highlands can make good business sense. I believe our council in conjunction with the Land Use Board should provide a counterbalance for businesses looking to come to town. We can provide clear guidance up front and not shift the goalposts and make it clear that Highlands is truly open for business.
To me, I believe candidates running for council need to be in a place both personally and professionally that they can put everything they have into the position. For me, that time is now. My background is in Information Technology and I have been leading teams in this field for over 14 years. I believe that my professional experience would be a valuable addition to the council right now. Also, while not a life-long resident, our family has been part of Highlands since 2011. We have seen the town in times of disaster and of celebration. I believe that this role, at this time, is the best way for me to give back to the town that has given us so much.
As a first-time candidate, I am certain that my answer will change over time, especially if I am chosen by the voters in November. However, right now I think the most difficult part of being a council member is finding a way to cut through divisive rhetoric that unfortunately has become the norm in politics at every level. I acknowledge that social media plays an increasing role in daily life, and I believe that there are countless ways in which it helps people stay connected. However, when legitimate differences of opinion devolve into personal attacks, name calling, and meme wars, I feel that we all lose. I believe that finding the right balance between keeping folks engaged (especially online) and keeping the conversation respectful and constructive is difficult, but by no means impossible.
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