Morristown Second Ward candidate Tawanna Cotten: Community policing, pedestrian safety, rent control

Second Ward Council candidate Tawanna Cotten. Photo courtesy of the candidate.


In Morristown’s Second Ward, Democrat Tawanna Cotten is running unopposed on Nov. 5, 2019. She defeated incumbent Hiliari Davis in the Democratic primary.

We asked the candidate where she stands on some key issues. See below. Please share some details about yourself?

Tawanna Cotten: My name is Tawanna Cotten. I work in the Morris School District as an Assistant Behavioral Specialist, which I find extremely rewarding. I am 46 years old and I have lived in Morristown over 40 years. I received an Associates Degree from The County College of Morris in Liberal Arts.

I have two beautiful children that I love and adore. My son Jaylond (25) born and raised in Morristown and attended school in the Morris School District. Jaylond graduated The College of New Jersey (Physics Major) and works for Edmond and Optics as a Vision Solutions Engineer.

My amazing daughter Adrianna is 5 years old and attends kindergarten at Hillcrest.   I am the President of the Resident Advisory Board of the Morristown Housing Authority, a Street Captain for  the Morristown United for Healthy Living Coalition,  a member of the A.N.G.E.L.S in Action (an HIV and AIDS Ministry) and a member of the Community Health Day Steering Committee.

When I am not working I love gardening at the Grow it Green Community Garden, where I have been a member for four years. It provides balance, peace and tranquility in my life. It allows me to infuse my artistic creativity through companion planting. Organically growing my own vegetables is sustainable and eliminates harmful chemicals polluting our environment and waterways.

MG: You defeated an incumbent in the Democratic primary.  As a councilwoman, how will you differ from your predecessor?

As a Councilwoman, who cares about public engagement,  I will hold quarterly Second Ward meetings.  I value the voice of residents who want their concerns addressed and resolved for the betterment of the community.

MG: What are your priorities for the Second Ward?

My priorities will be to address the concerns of the Second Ward residents that have gone unresolved. The residents have expressed the need for community policing, an urgent resolution to ease traffic and speeding on their streets and at dangerous intersections near their homes, safety, lack of pedestrian crosswalks and the enforcement of Morristown’s Municipal Ordinaces.

MG: What impact will the M Station project have on the Second Ward?   Do you support / oppose the project?  Why?

The M Station is a massive redevelopment project and its impact is yet unknown. I encourage all of the Second Ward residents to continue to come out to town hall meetings, to make sure these development plans honor the families who already live here and the Seniors who want to retire here.

MG: For several years, the Council has attempted, unsuccessfully, to impose alcohol curfews—early shutdown of alcohol sales—as conditions of the Iron Bar’s liquor license expansion on South Street. 

What is at stake here?  Why do you support / not support imposing this condition even though courts and the the state Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control keep overturning it?

I would not support imposing alcohol curfew-early shut down of alcohol sales, on “one” establishment in our town. The Courts and the State Division of  Alcoholic Beverage Control  keep overturning this imposed curfew. The residents of the town are asking how much of their tax dollars are paying for these lawsuits against the town?

MG: Should Morristown bring back rent controls?  Why / why not?

Morristown should bring back rent controls which would allow this town to maintain its diverse population. Renters feel like they are being forced out of the town they love. Homeowners are concerned that after their children go off to college and return, they will not be able to afford to rent anything at market rate in Morristown,  due to the Rent Control Ordinance’s  Decontrol/Recontrol provision.

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