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SOPHIA CHADDA & JESSICA SIMPSON-COOK

For Bernards Township Committee

Dr. Sophia Chadda and Jessica Simpson-Cook are two qualified Democrats running for Bernards Township Committee. They’ll work to support local businesses, maintain fair & stable taxes, while bringing transparency & diversity to our local government.

Building a Better Bernards

  • A Bernards for the Future: Investment, Infrastructure, Safety, Sustainable Budgets
  • A Bernards for the Everyone: Diversity, Inclusion, Belonging, Housing
  • A Bernards for Small Business: Support local businesses, Revitalize Business Districts, Establish an Economic Development Commission
  • A Bernards for the People: Transparency, Municipal Services, Stabilize Taxes, Positive Change

Sustainable Community Investment

Stabilize taxes and increase property values by enhancing commercial rateables, actively partnering with our local small businesses, and attracting new businesses by creating an Economic Development Commission. We will carefully consider how our current tax dollars are being spent to ensure municipal services are kept available to all residents. We will invest in the future of Bernards by revitalizing local infrastructure, work closely with our new Utility Advisory Task Force to address issues of power outages and internet services, and modernize our town’s security measures to protect residents physically and digitally.
 
Our priority is to rejuvenate our local small businesses and ensure their long term success. We will revitalize our business districts by supporting our existing local small businesses as well as attracting new businesses, which will add to the Township’s tax revenue base while simultaneously decreasing the property tax burden on our residents. We will work with our local small businesses leaders with the goal of creating an Economic Development Commission to create a strategic plan with immediate, short term and long term goals to stimulate our economy and protect our property values.
 
After speaking with township merchants and residents, ideas such as having a “restaurant week” once or twice a year in which local restaurants offer specials to increase patronage and attract new customers was well received. Merchants also see Charter Day as a great opportunity to create more special events to attract more people to the downtown area. We want to work with larger employers in town, such as Verizon and Sloan Kettering, to encourage their employees to frequent local businesses year round and during special outdoor market nights.
 
We want to create a “shop local” initiative, including a social media campaign and leveraging the township’s website to energize and encourage residents and non-residents to patronize our local businesses.  Providing local shopping and dining opportunities to residents and neighboring communities helps us save gas, save time, increase our sense of community, provide more jobs, and reduce reliance on homeowner property taxes. 
 

We will work creatively to accommodate the federal and state housing mandates. No more “builder’s remedy.” Through proactive and creative thinking, we will endeavor that Bernards Township meet all of its affordable housing requirements going forward without being forced into projects that our residents do not support and that may be detrimental to our community. Many times, affordable housing helps house police, teachers, firefighters, and emergency medical technicians so they can live close to where they work. 

Transparency is the keystone of trust in local government! The election of Joan Bannan in 2018 coincided with the establishment of four new task forces: Communications, Affordable Housing, Vision 2020, and Quarry Oversight. These were in response to bi-partisan demand for greater transparency. The democratic influence broke open this single party rule to enable a more diverse group of citizens. 

Prioritize the safety and security — both physical and digital security — of all residents and township assets. We have strong connections with the Somerset County Sheriff and support our local first responders; new ideas can be presented and shared easily.

Improve and maintain our infrastructure so roads are safe, have proper lighting, better sidewalks, better safety for bicyclists and solutions to local morning congestion. We will work with the new Utility Advisory Task Force concerning power outages/disruptions and internet service. We will work to ensure that our residents’ tax dollars are being used efficiently to improve our quality of life. We will apply for grants from the County and State to assist us in improving our town. 

Diversity leads to better decision making! Cultural, Ethnical, Gender, and Cognitive diversity create better and faster decision making, positive change, and added value for the community it serves. We are committed to ensuring that all residents are represented regardless of race, ethnicity, religious affiliation, LGBTQ+, and any level of emotional or physical ability. We will ensure that our township governance is transparent and accessible. Platforms like Zoom and YouTube have helped bring our town’s meetings to those residents that cannot attend in person. And those options should be expanded even more. We will continue to work with the Diversity & Inclusion Committee and make sure their work is validated and shared with all residents. 

Paid for by Chadda & Simpson-Cook for Bernards Township Committee, PO Box 5352, Basking Ridge, NJ 07920

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