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GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP — Four incumbent township councilmen are running for re-election in the Nov. 7 general election.

Republican Mayor Don Purdy and Republican Councilmen Timothy Meadows, Robert Maldonado and Frank M. Gargione are seeking re-election against Democrats Frank Santo, Mary Crawford, Walead Abdrabouh and Jim Gorman.

Candidates are listed alphabetically.

Walead Abdrabouh

39

Democrat

Married: Kelly, wife; daughters, ages 6 and 5

Residence: 3 years

Education: bachelor’s degree in economics from Rutgers University, completing master’s in business administration from Stockton University.

Why are you running for council?

Over the past few years, I have heard concerns from many of my friends and neighbors regarding issues in Galloway, and I believe I have the experience, desire, temperament and dedication to address many of these concerns. I believe that it is my responsibility as a resident of Galloway to do everything I can to make a positive difference, and I believe I can best give back to my community as a member of council.

What special skills will you bring to the board?

I have an extensive background in technology, which I believe is a necessary skill set to bring to any council. As technology continues to advance at a rapid pace, opportunities continue to arise for a community to become more efficient and effective, and this is especially true for local government. I also bring many years of management, business, marketing and leadership experience.

What is the most important issue facing your community this year?

Although I believe there are several issues that need to be addressed, safety in our community is, I believe, our most important issue. Being the father of two young girls, safety has been on the forefront of my mind since the first day I called Galloway home. Lack of sidewalks, hazardous road conditions and inadequate street lighting all attribute to decreased public safety for our community, and I will work hard, both on the local and the county level, to address these issues after I am elected in November.

Mary Crawford

Democrat

Age: 50

Married: Thomas Infanti, 55; daughter, Jamie Infanti, 21.

Residence: 14 years

Education: Bachelor’s degree, Johns Hopkins University, 1988; master’s in business administration, Pace University, 1994.

Why are you running for council?

To bring new ideas, energy and a spirit of community that will benefit all residents. Specifically, I will seek to improve the efficiency of our town government, including increased use of technology as well as advance quality-of-living initiatives such as bike paths, park development and other recreational facilities, and seeking out the available state and county grants to fund these projects. I support smart commercial development concentrated in designated areas so as not to compromise the natural beauty of our township. As a member of the Sustainability Task Force, I have been frustrated by the lack of cost-savings initiatives, including solar installations, use of hybrid/electric vehicles, HVAC and lighting upgrades that would save our taxpayer dollars.

What special skills will you bring to the board?

Extensive financial, managerial and organizational skills. I work as an investment adviser for Merrill Lynch and have 13 years of financial industry experience. I have management experience over my engineering and financial career spanning 30 years.

Committed to community involvement — current chairwoman of the Task Force for a Sustainable Galloway (aka Go Green Galloway), past president of the Galloway Township Business Association, past soccer and basketball coach for GTAA and PAL, past member of the Galloway Women’s Club.

What is the most important issue facing your community this year?

The foreclosed homes in our neighborhoods and increased tax burden on our residents over the past 10 years are the most important issues in our community. We need to make sure our township is running extremely efficiently and we are getting our fair share from the county and state so we can make Galloway the best place to live in South Jersey.

Frank M. Gargione

Republican incumbent

45

Single: Two sons, Frankie, 12, and Nicholas, 10.

Resident: 45 years

Education: Bachelor’s in mechanical engineering from Drexel University; master’s degree from Rutgers University.

Why are you running for re-election?

I love this town and want to continue to make a difference. I was born, raised and went to school here. I own two businesses here. I coach three baseball teams and I am the commissioner of the GTAA wrestling program and I am the president of the Galloway Sons of Italy chapter. As the chairman of the Recreation Committee, I was able to have all of the baseball and softball fields redone with new grass and infields, and made improvements to all parks including Glen by the Bay, Pine Needle Park, Gabriel Field and Tartaglio Field.

I will continue the great progress that has been made with our recreation facilities by getting the proper funding to our programs. Being on the Budget Committee, I will continue the fiscal responsibility that has allowed us to reduce the municipal portion of our tax bill for the last three years. I plan to improve community services in my next term. I want to have a recreation center that is world-class, where we can have day and evening classes on topics that are interesting, educational and practical.

What special skills will you bring to the council?

I bring a skill set from both the private sector as well as owning my own businesses. When you own a business, you are responsible for sales, finance, human resources, payroll, operations and customer service. I learned many of these attributes from my tenure at Lenox China as the manufacturing manager. My experience in these areas can benefit the board because I have learned that every decision affects the bottom line. On the dais as a councilman, I am working with the taxpayer’s dollar, and I treat decisions more importantly because it is not my money. I make every decision as if I am managing my own business.

What is the most important issue facing your community this year?

Tax reduction. My plan for addressing this is to continue to look to bring new businesses in to help offset taxes.

Jim Gorman

56

Democrat

Married: Tricia, wife; son, Matthew, 26; daughter, Erin, 23.

Resident: 29 years

Education: Camden County Vocational Training School, management and labor relations program, Rutgers University.

Why are you running for council?

There are issues in Galloway that I think I could make better. We need to streamline the process to get approvals on building and construction projects in Galloway. That can then help with bringing in residents to fill empty homes, and that will provide for more commercial ratables. This should be based on what the needs are. Decisions need to be made on what is right, not about getting re-elected. We also should promote the natural resources, such as waterfronts and wooded areas, the Forsythe Refuge, just to name a few, to help promote our businesses.

What special skills will you bring to the board?

I have proved time and again that I can work with others and do what's best for Galloway.

What is the most important issue facing your community this year?

Bringing jobs and ratables to Galloway that will help keep people wanting to move and live here.

Robert Maldonado

Republican incumbent

62

Resident: 23 years

Education: College credits from Thomas Edison State University, Trenton.

Why are you running for re-election?

To continue the process of making Galloway a great place to live, continue making improvements in our town to attract new residents and businesses to Galloway. I raised my children in Galloway, they were educated in Galloway schools and this is where their roots are. It has always been a great community, and I want to make sure it continues that way.

What special skills will you bring to council?

I’m a 23-year Navy veteran, and I serve on the Veterans Advisory Board to improve and create new programs or processes to help the veterans in our community. I was in law enforcement during my military career, and I was a licensed private detective after I retired. Safety is very important, and that’s why increasing our Police Department and equipping our officers with the necessary items to perform their jobs is important, as well as increased security in our schools.

What is the most important issue facing your community this year?

We must continue to maintain lower taxes. We have been able to reduce taxes three years in a row and will continue to do so without putting our township in debt. We will continue our pay-as-we-go policy to provide quality education for our children and continue to improve the quality of life for all our residents young and old.

Timothy C. Meadows

Republican incumbent

62

Resident: 32 years

Education: Atlantic Cape Community College associate’s degree

Why are you running for re-election?

Our team has accomplished many things over the last four years, but there is still a lot to do. I enjoy serving with this team and love this community. I also want to serve as a role model to encourage young folks to serve their community in some way. It is a privilege to go into the schools and speak to the students when asked.

What special skills will you bring to council?

I served seven years on the Galloway Township school board, and I also served four years on the Galloway Planning Board. I served four years active duty and 22 years with the U.S. Coast Guard reserves. I spent my career working for NJ Bell/Bell Atlantic/Verizon as a member of Local 827 IBEW and also as a field supervisor. All these experiences combine to help me understand problems and solutions, and also how to work with people.

What is the most important issue facing your community this year?

Galloway Township has been able to reduce municipal taxes three years in a row and simultaneously hire new police officers, purchase new police cars and pay cash for new fire apparatus. We must continue to look for opportunities in economic development, grow our recreation programs, maintain public safety and celebrate our quality of life here in Galloway. Residents want to feel safe in their homes and be able to afford to stay in their homes.

Don Purdy 

Republican incumbent

45

Married: Michelle, wife; Children: Don Purdy Jr., 21; Jonathan Purdy, 17; Emily Purdy, 12; Katelyn, 11

Resident: 45 years

Education: Galloway Township School District, Absegami High School

Why are you running for re-election?

So that I can continue to improve the quality of life in our town. Our team has made significant advancements in economic development through the redevelopment initiatives we created. This will entice both small and large businesses to make Galloway Township their home, in turn putting our local residents to work.

What special skills will you bring to the council?

I feel that my business background is the most beneficial quality I can give to the board. Understanding finance and the ability to create a budget are essential to this position.

As a business owner, I understand living within our means.

Responsible spending and paying as we go has reduced our budget and has lowered our local municipal taxes three years in a row.

What is the most important issue facing your community this year?

The most important issue our community is facing is the economic downfall of Atlantic City. This has caused our home foreclosure and unemployment rates to rise. For this reason, we have been concentrating on creating local jobs through our economic development initiative. This program will attract businesses and many jobs to our area. This will boost the housing and job market and put Galloway on the map as a town people want to raise their families in.

Frank J. Santo

38

Democrat

Married: Carol Ann, 38; children Emmaline Rose, 10; Michael Joseph, 5; Joseph Ryan, 2; Ryan Michael, 2 months

Residence: Lifelong

Education: Bachelor’s degree in political science, master's in elementary education.

Why are you running for council?

As a lifelong resident of Galloway Township, I have been able to develop a profound relationship with the people in this community. Many of those people helped raise, educate and/or coach me. Additionally, I have established myself as a man of integrity within the school system, and many families know me as a deeply caring educator who often look to me for leadership. I am seeking a seat on council to represent and serve those people and all of the residents of Galloway Township.

What special skills will you bring to the board?

I have devoted a lifetime of study to political science and government and have worked hard to establish myself as an effective communicator with an ability to establish meaningful relationships when addressing important issues. I am known as a sympathetic listener who is approachable and concerned. Many express feeling very comfortable around me. I was also honored as the Galloway Township Schools 2015 District Teacher of the Year and often assume leadership roles within the school system.

What is the most important issue facing your community this year?

The residents of Galloway deserve relief from high taxes. Our team has a plan to ease the tax burden and allocate resources to increase the quality of life for our community.

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Contact: 609-601-5193

rj.liberatore@catamaranmedia.com

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