Morris Township’s committee election in November will be a re-match of sorts. Democrats Jeff Grayzel and Cathy Wilson, defeated last fall, are running again.
This time, however, their Republican opponents will be Deputy Mayor Bruce Sisler and interim Committeeman Matheu Nunn, who was appointed last week to fill out the term of Scott Rosenbush, who is moving to Utah.
Grayzel, who served two terms on the committee, pressed a series of recounts last fall but lost by 14 votes to GOP newcomer Louise Johnson. Republicans hold all five committee seats.
Below are statements from the challengers on Monday, the deadline for filing petitions for the June 2, 2015, primary. We will give equal space to the incumbents, if they wish to submit statements.
Jeff Grayzel is seeking a third term as a member of the Morris Township Committee. In 2007 Grayzel became the first Democrat to be elected to the Morris Township Committee since 1973, and he is the only Democrat ever to be elected to two terms.
In the past Grayzel has chaired the municipal court and parking lot sub-committees, and was also a member of the sewer utility, and communications sub-committees. He served two years on the Planning Board from 2008-2009 and has a good understanding of land-use issues. He was also a member of the Trails & Pathways Committee since its inception until this year when he was not re-nominated by the Mayor.
Grayzel has worked hard to improve communication to residents about Township government affairs, and has published his own Morris Township Update e-newsletter since 2007.
Grayzel, citing his experience, says, “I have enjoyed my public service to the community. During my six years in office, I have brought a lot of good ideas to the table, and I believe that I have a lot to offer the residents of Morris Township by my service on the Township Committee.”
Jeff has coached both MNLL little league and MUSC soccer, which his two sons played, for eight years. He is on the Board of Directors of the Morristown Jewish Center and is a former vice-president of the Washington Valley Community Association. Jeff and his family have lived in the Washington Valley section of Morris Township since 1997.
Cathy Wilson has filed a petition to become one of the two Democratic candidates for Morris Township Committee in the June primary.
Wilson is making a third run for Township Committee after finishing 133 votes shy of victory in last November’s election.
As a candidate, Cathy devoted extensive time and energy to knocking on doors, talking with residents, and working to understand their concerns.
“Good leadership is built on active listening,” says Wilson. “That’s the bedrock of my approach to working with others.”
Wilson attends and speaks at nearly every Township Committee meeting. She regularly attends meetings of Morris Township’s Environmental Commission and was recently invited to participate in its Sustainable Jersey sub-group.
She is a community-at-large representative of Sustainable Morristown and a member of the Green Earth Ministries at her church. Wilson has worked as a professional writer and attends Women Who Write meetings. She is also a member of the League of Women Voters.
Wilson is a retired educator. During her 26-year career in Illinois and Michigan, she was a middle school social studies and reading teacher, a gifted coordinator, and a teacher of students with learning and behavioral challenges grades K-12. She also worked for six years as an administrator in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction.
In 2012 she completed a master’s degree in negotiation and conflict resolution at Columbia University. She is a trained mediator and a member of the Academy of Professional Family Mediators.
“Running for office over the last two years has given me a good pulse on what’s going on in Morris Township,” says Wilson. “While it’s true that the dominant party has accomplished many good things on behalf of our community, it’s also true that one-party rule comes at a cost: it divides our community.
“One-party rule assumes that Republicans have a monopoly on solutions for our common concerns: how to keep taxes in check, how to address quality of life issues (like traffic), and how to attract good jobs to our community. This assumption is holding us back. It’s simply not true.
“My vision going forward is two-party communication based on honesty and mutual respect and two-party collaboration that brings us together.
“I have specialized training and a lifetime of professional experience working with people who don’t see eye to eye with each other. This skill set has obvious benefits in supporting productive two-party interaction, Wilson said.”
In addition to her political work, Wilson serves on the Board of Trustees of the New Jersey Education Foundation Partnership. She is also an active member of the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship.
Wilson has two grown children and two grandsons. She has lived in Morris Township since 2005.