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I am a resident of Knowlton. I will be on the ballot as an Independent because I want to make decisions based on what’s best for Knowlton, period, without worrying about the party politics in Trenton, on social media or beyond. Throughout my time in Knowlton, I have been a member of Knowlton Fire and Rescue. I have served in the leadership of that company for 13 years in various line officer positions; most notably as Chief of Department in 2015 and 2016. I am also currently the Emergency Management Coordinator (OEM) for the township, after serving as an assistant for many years and assuming primary duties in 2021 when the previous coordinator retired. For over a decade, I have been employed as a Construction Manager for a large electrical utility based in Newark. There, I oversee contracts and work related to the engineering, procurement and construction of switchyards and substations. I am a licensed electrician, formerly owning my own business. My wife Dawn and I have been married since 2004 and have one high school aged daughter. My experience both professionally and through volunteer organizations gives me a strong background in dealing with engineering, construction, budgets and prioritizing needs. I am a natural problem solver, and my skill set can be beneficial to the Township as it relates to reviewing scopes of work, contracts and RFPs.
The current committee is very good at communicating what’s going on. Between the summary email that goes out after each of the meetings and the availability to speak during public open comments at the meetings, anyone who wants to express themselves or obtain information can. I’m not a big fan of social media posting; but if it’s important or warranted, that’s another valid means of communicating.
I’m not trying to convince anyone, but I will provide some information for the community to make their own informed decision; some achievements in Township-related positions have been:
2021- As OEM Coordinator, I applied for and was awarded a FEMA grant for costs associated with Winter Storm Orlena; roughly $20,000 was recouped by the Township with this effort.
2015- As Fire Chief, I worked with the Township committee to purchase a firetruck to replace a piece of equipment that was out of service for 6 years prior to this. This greatly improved KTFR’s ability to respond prepared to the vast types of incidents they are called to. I worked within a cost structure that the committee was comfortable with. We were able to purchase a used truck that served our purposes well and provided a roughly $250,000 savings over the previously quoted new apparatus that was desired.
2020- As Fire Captain, I worked with a vendor to provide essential breathing equipment for our fire fighters. I knew a neighboring dept. was working to obtain the same equipment, and we were able to secure a state contract price based on the combined volume of equipment being purchased.
My wife, Dawn Bates, has served on the Knowlton Elementary School board for 7 years now. She will run this year as a write-in candidate. Her involvement has given me an understanding of the complexities of the funding matrix the state uses to distribute money. It also has given me insight into what the schools are dealing with from an operational standpoint.
I was approached back in the spring and initially I was a full No! My thought was: “I’m not a politician. In fact, I really don’t like politicians!” After talking about it, getting the input of a few local friends, my wife and, ultimately, hearing my daughter’s convincing Yes!, changed my mind. They highlighted my ability to speak my mind, use common sense, and think outside the box. Additionally, they referenced my leadership and professional skills as beneficial in supporting the Township’s needs. Over the years, I’ve built relationships with some of the current and past committee members who are supportive of me running. Additionally, there are others who are influential in the township who have cast their support as well. I’ve been able to bridge a gap between the folks who were born here and those that weren’t. One is not the past and the other isn’t the future. Only together will Knowlton persevere as it has for over 200 years.