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Maryanne S. Connelly Launches Second Campaign for Congress
Ingrid McKinley for The Westfield Leader and The Times CAMPAIGN KICKOFF… Flanked by supporters, former Fanwood Mayor Maryanne S. Connelly kicks off her campaign for the Seventh Congressional District seat Tuesday morning at The Chelsea in Fanwood. One of 12 candidates seeking to succeed Congressman Bob Franks in the House of Representatives, Mrs. Connelly previously ran for the seat in 1998. Mr. Franks is a candidate for the United States Senate this year. By SUZETTE F. STALKER
Specially Written for The Westfield Leader and The Times
FANWOOD — Former Fanwood Mayor Maryanne S. Connelly officially announced her second run for the Seventh Congressional District seat Tuesday morning with a spirited campaign kickoff at The Chelsea assisted living facility in Fanwood.
Mrs. Connelly, 54, a Democrat, is one of 12 candidates now vying to succeed fourterm Congressman Bob Franks in the United States House of Representatives. Mr. Franks is making his own bid for the United States Senate this year.
The former Mayor challenged Mr. Franks in 1998, capturing 46 percent of the overall vote in the heavilyRepublican district, which includes 34 communities in Union, Middlesex, Somerset and Essex Counties. Among them are Fanwood, Scotch Plains, Westfield and Mountainside.
Despite her strong showing two years ago, Mrs. Connelly has not received the endorsement of the Democratic organization, which is instead backing the candidacy of Union County Manager Michael J. Lapolla. She acknowledged that some fellow Democrats have also encouraged her to drop out of the race.
Drawing inspiration from suffragist Susan B. Anthony’s struggles and eventual triumph in gaining women the right to vote, Mrs. Connelly said she would “never give up” her goal of working for people on the national level.
Introduced by Marianne Espinosa Murphy, an attorney and former judge, Mrs. Connelly outlined her platform for an enthusiastic group of supporters and Chelsea residents. The candidate called for health care reform, support for public school districts and preservation of Social Security and Medicare, as well as equal pay in the work force, child safety and regulation of firearms.
Addressing HMO reform – a key plank in her campaign platform two years ago – the candidate advocated measures which would permit patients “to see any doctor you choose, and the right for you and your doctor to make health care decisions… not some insurance bureaucrat who has no qualifications to make medical decisions.”
Mrs. Connelly proposed that Congress utilize the federal budget surplus to protect Social Security and Medicare coverage. “The longterm
health of Social Security is still in question, and this generation of retirees, and future generations, deserve to know their Social Security will always be there. That’s not asking too much,” she said.
Turning her attention to education, Mrs. Connelly recommended that instead of using tax dollars for vouchers for private and religious schools, “we need to hire more teachers to reduce class sizes.
“We need to build more schools and modernize our old ones. We need to invest in Head Start. We need tougher standards of conduct and higher standards of achievement. We need to improve school safety and expand tuition tax credits so parents can afford to send their children on to college.”
Mrs. Connelly additionally urged the enforcement of Megan’s Law by advising parents when a child molester has moved into their neighborhood, and vowed to fight for “tougher penalties for child abuse.”
The candidate expressed her support for the registration and licensing of all gun purchases and sales, as well as a zero tolerance policy for guns in schools, in an effort to eliminate tragedies like the Columbine High School massacre last year. “Registration and licensing of handguns isn’t going to solve the whole problem, but it’s a step in the right direction,” she said.
A Brooklyn native and Fanwood resident for 20 years, Mrs. Connelly retired two years ago as a human resources executive with AT& T. Elected as Mayor in 1995, she previously served three terms as a Borough Councilwoman between 1986 and 1994. She opted not to run for a second Mayoral term last year in order to pursue the House seat.
During her tenure on Fanwood’s governing body, the candidate also served as Council President for eight
years and Police Commissioner for nine years.
A former member of the borough’s Planning Board and Environmental Commission, she was also part of the Fanwood Housing Committee which a decade ago negotiated the first singlefamily housing plan with the New Jersey Council on Affordable Housing.
Mrs. Connelly has been Vice President of the Union County League of Mayors since 1998 and additionally served as President of the New Jersey Association of Elected Women Officials for two years and as Director of the New Jersey Association of Elected Women Officials for six years.
Mrs. Connelly has received the support of Democratic Assemblywoman Loretta Weinberg (37th District) of Bergen County, Deputy Minority Leader in the New Jersey General Assembly.
In a letter sent Monday to Mrs. Connelly that was read for the audience at her campaign kickoff, the Assemblywoman predicted the former mayor would provide “a strong voice” in Congress.
Mrs. Connelly noted during her address at The Chelsea that in the last century, only two women Democrats have been elected to Congress from New Jersey, the last one in 1974.
In addition to Mr. Lapolla, Mrs. Connelly’s challengers for the Seventh District seat include Democrats Joel Farley of Westfield, Warren Township Committeeman Jeff Golkin and H. Brooke Hern of New Providence.
Republican contenders in the crowded race are Tom Kean, Jr. and Patrick Morrissey, both of Westfield; Assemblyman Joel Weingarten (21st District) of Millburn, Green Brook Mayor Pat Walsh, Mike Ferguson of Warren, Eric Urbano of Scotch Plains and former Woodbridge Council President and Fire Chief Ken Gardner.
The Westfield Foundation Awards Grants To Aid Cranford Residents in Need
WESTFIELD — The Westfield Foundation recently provided assistance to two Cranford nonprofit organizations through its 1999 grants program.
A grant of $1,000 was made to the Cranford Family Care Association to assist residents of the township who suffered the effects of Tropical Storm Floyd.
The funds were used to help two families replace needed electrical appliances that were destroyed in the flood.
In addition, Foundation trustees approved a grant in the amount of $1,800 at their quarterly meeting in November to aid Project Home of Cranford, Inc.
The grant helped Project Home provide emergency funds to assist families in danger of losing their homes due to job loss, medical bills or other crises.
“The Westfield Foundation is pleased to be able to make this small contribution to the wellbeing of our neighbors,” Dr. Gerald J. Glasser, Grants Committee Chairman, stated on behalf of the Foundation. “We firmly believe that helping our neighbors helps all of us.”
The Westfield Foundation, established in 1975 with a $2,000 donation from local citizens, currently has assets in excess of $8 million.
Comprised of over 75 individual funds, the Foundation holds unrestricted funds which provide the income for the annual grants program; temporarily restricted funds which include scholarships and funds benefiting specific nonprofit programs and managed funds which serve as endowment funds for local nonprofits.
For more information about the Westfield Foundation, please contact Betsy Chance, Executive Director, P. O. Box 2295, Westfield, 07091, call (908) 2339787 or visit the Foundation’s Web site at www. westfieldnj. com/ wf.
Covering Fanwood, Mountainside, Scotch Plains and Westfield, Union County, New Jersey (NJ)