Dear Editor:

We are running for Readington Township Committee in the June Republican primary because we care tremendously about the future of Readington.  In the most populous state in the nation, less than 90 minutes from both New York City and Philadelphia, we enjoy a peaceful, rural lifestyle, great schools, and a fantastic quality of life.  As longtime members of the Planning Board, who have also served on the Environmental Commission (Liz), Historic Preservation Commission (Ben), and Open Space Advisory Board (Liz and Ben), and we have invested many years working alongside the Township Committee with many other dedicated volunteer members of the Planning Board, Board of Adjustment, Open Space Advisory Board, and Environmental Commission, to make and keep Readington the wonderful place that it is.   If you look around and wonder how Readington has escaped suburban sprawl and overdevelopment, we can tell you firsthand that it took planning and the will to stand up to considerable private interests that would have developed our town to benefit themselves, leaving us with the infrastructure costs, traffic, and pollution of our air and groundwater.   Much of what we have in place to protect our lifestyle can be undone if the Township Committee is controlled by friends of developers and those with strong ties to airport expansion interests.

Readington is at a crossroads.  We have serious challenges that must be addressed in the near term that will have a permanent impact on the future of our Township.  Residents are concerned about taxes and municipal debt.  Merck, one of our best neighbors and ratables for the past 25 years, wound down operations in 2014.  Merck provided good paying jobs and the corresponding property values to our Township for 25 years; we need leadership that understands that Merck will not be replaced overnight,  and we should not hastily endeavor to replace an excellent neighbor with another use that may not benefit Readington in the long run.  The Mayor has met with the New Jersey Business Action Center, which has advised against rezoning the Merck property; we are working with Merck and the New Jersey Business Action Center to find a solution that benefits Readington.  At the same time, the Superior Court will soon decide the outcome of the litigation to preserve the Airport.  Whichever way the court decides, there will surely be appeals, and we need a Township Committee that has the interests of the people of Readington as their top priority, not candidates whose nominating petitions are signed, and fundraisers are thrown by, the most vocal supporters of the Solbergs.  We need experienced and educated leadership to navigate through these issues; people who know how municipal government works, and what municipal government can and can’t do.  We have that experience, and we love Readington the way it is.   We ask for the support of the voters in Readington Township on June 2nd.

Liz Duffy and Ben Smith