BY JAIMIE JULIA WINTERS
Two slates will vie for mayor and council in this year’s local election set for May 12, while an independent will run for one of the two at-large council spots.
Today, March 9, was the deadline for all candidates to have filed a petition with the clerk in order to run for office.
Mayoral candidate and current Fourth Ward Councilwoman Renee Baskerville announced her team under the slogan “Your Voice, Montclair.” Baskerville is joined by at-large council candidates Peter Yacobellis and James Cotter, First Ward candidate John Hearn, Second Ward candidate Christina “Chrissy” Thomas, Third Ward candidate Marguerite “Maggie” Joralemon, and Fourth Ward candidate David Cummings.
That slate will be opposed in May by the one led by mayoral candidate and current Third Ward Councilman Sean M. Spiller, which includes current council members Bob Russo (at-large), Bill Hurlock (First Ward) and Robin Schlager (Second Ward), as well as at-large candidate Roger Terry and Third Ward candidate Lori Price Abrams. They are running as the “Montclair 2020 Progress in Action” ticket.
Planning board member Carmel Loughman is also running independently for one of the two at-large council spots. Loughman called herself an underdog, long-shot candidate, with an independent view. She seeks efficiency, transparency and accountability from the local government.
Candidates had to submit petitions with signatures to become certified to be on the ballot. Mayor and at-large council candidates must have 326 certified signatures, while the threshold is 81 for the First Ward, 86 for the Second Ward, 79 for the Third Ward, and 81 for the Fourth Ward. Those numbers are based on the 32,600 registered voters in Montclair.
Announcing her ticket, Baskerville said she picked residents who are active and involved Montclairions, who possess uncanny instincts for people and public service. As Montclair heads into the new decade, we wanted a clean slate, people with fresh ideas, perspectives, and vision. A team that represents Montclair’s diversity and integrity. A slate that represents the many voices and interests of Township residents.”
Baskerville, who has served three terms as Fourth Ward Councilwoman, is a pediatric, adolescent primary-care and school physician, as well as a health educator. She has also served on the Board of Education.
Yacobellis is a former head of the New York Affordable Housing Office and served as a national LGBTQ civil rights leader.
Cotter is a public school teacher, and has two children attending Watchung Elementary.
Hearn is an entrepreneur and business consultant.
Thomas runs her own local family law practice. Earlier in her career, she founded the National Center for Community Service in Schools and Generation X, which engages young voters to participate in voting and public service.
Joralemon is a lifelong educator in public schools and universities. She was a co-founder of the Undoing Racism Committee at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Montclair and is a member of the Anti-Racist Alliance of North Jersey.
Cummings was a sportswriter for three decades, working at The New York Times, New York Daily News, Miami Herald, The Source, and ESPN. He is currently a member of the town’s Civil Rights Commision, and has served previously on the Montclair Board of Education.
In a statement sent to Montclair Local announcing his intentions to run for mayor two weeks ago, Spiller said he believes that progress begins on the local level and that “Montclair serves as an example of what government can do when we follow through on our progressive values.”
The two-term councilman also serves as vice president of the New Jersey Education Association, the state teachers’ union.
Hurlock is the managing partner in the law firm of Mueller Law and was a federal prosecutor for the Office of Independent Counsel, investigating allegations of corruption.
Russo served as President of the International Association of Lemon Law Administrators, and is currently President of the Consumers League of New Jersey. He is also an adjunct professor at Rutgers University-Newark.
Schlager got involved in Montclair government after helping to launch the safety campaigns “Drive With Care in Montclair” and “Cross With Care in Montclair.”
Terry is a former deputy police chief and has previously served on the Township Council, including a stint as deputy mayor.
Price Abrams was Vice President of Government Relations at MWW public relations firm until January. Before that she served as director of community relations with The Jewish Federations of Metrowest NJ.
Spiller did not name a Fourth Ward candidate for his ticket.