As Election Day nears, Lacey Patch is profiling the candidates. See the related stories for more on the upcoming elections.
- Candidate Name: Shawn Judson
- Age: 56
- Address: 50 Hilltop Drive, Lanoka Harbor
- Occupation: A leader in the Underground Residential Development Department for JCP&L
- Marital Status: Divorced with two children
Shawn Judson considers herself an “accidental politician.”
As a delegate to the Monmouth-Ocean Central Labor Council and the shop steward, registrar and organizer for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1289, Judson is active in union affairs.
Over the years the president of the Central Labor Council encouraged Judson to run and each time, she’d say, “I’m not a politician.” But recent issues including the power plant and the rail-trail drove Judson to run in the 2012 elections.
“I’m just a regular working person,” she said. “I don’t earn $1,000,000. I keep up with my property. It just seems like it’s getting harder and harder when they keep taking money from me.”
Taxes continue to rise and Judson is concerned how the closure of Oyster Creek will impact Lacey economically, she said.
“Nobody has done anything and my taxes are going up,” Judson said of the future of Lacey Township once Oyster Creek Generating Station closes in 2019.
While the committee has shown interest in a gas plant, Judson, a former employee of Oyster Creek, said that would not provide the electricity or jobs that Ocean County needs.
“I’m not your regular Democrat. I have no problem with nuclear,” she said. “I’ve worked there and live here. I have never thought of the plant as being unsafe."
Also related to taxes is the continuing debate of the rail-trail, she said.
In the past, the ballot consisted of a rail-trail related question on two separate occasions, Judson said, and the township has been stuck in ongoing litigation.
“Whether you’re for or against the rail-trail doesn’t matter. It’s the fact that this town keeps spending more money without a road,” she said.
On other instances, the township has faced unnecessary costs such as the furloughs in which the negotiations were not administered properly causing an emergency appropriation of $218,250 to pay local unions back.
“The Republicans are the ruling party. It disgusts me to see the spending,” Judson said.
Since deciding to run, Judson has gone door to door to talk to local residents.
“I don’t think anybody ever sits and talks to a taxpayer,” she said.
Some of the issues brought to surface included a need for speed humps in areas where speeding is prominent, the rail-trail, Oyster Creek, the lack of police and the rising drug problem, she said.
Speed humps is something that would ordinarily automatically get discounted during these economic times, but Judson is looking into ways to fund such a project, she said.
When it came to the budget process, the Republicans didn’t make an effort to make cuts while Democrats Sean Sharkey and Helen DelaCruz questioned each line item, she said.
There has been a major division that has been created, Judson said.
“There has to be a willingness to have everybody work together. We have to sit down and make it a bipartisan town,” she said.
When asked what sort of changes she would propose, Judson said she would first have to “observe and learn.”
Economically, Judson would like to be more proactive in the area of shared services. She also mentioned, “going after” the state, county and schools for assistance.
“The state takes a lot of from us,” she said. “A lot of towns have actively gone after (counties and schools).”
Salaries also need to be capped, she said.
“I do believe when people are working, they should get raises. But they should deserve them,” Judson said of the recent raises given to township employees in management positions. “On the other hand, there are people making more than $150,000 who got raises. It’s a double-edged sword.”
Judson would also like to make the township more business friendly as she said some businesses have been immediately hit with fines without warning.
With the rising crime and drug problem, Judson would like to see more police on the road, she said. The police who are making more money are working a lot of overtime hours, she said. That money should be used to hire recent graduates of the academy.
“Let’s get them out on the road,” she said.
But it will have to be a joint effort, she said, adding that she would like to see neighborhood watch programs implemented throughout the township and working with the police.
“My goal is to win and have a Democratic majority and maybe turn this town around a little bit,” she said.
With elections only seven weeks away, Judson is gearing up her campaign and intends to hold Meet and Greets and other events.
On Friday, Sept. 21, the Lacey Democrats will be holding their annual Fish and Chips, catered by Thistle Restaurant of Kearny, New Jersey. The dinner will begin at 6 p.m. at the Knights of Columbus. The event will include food, rinks and entertainment.
To learn more about Judson, visit http://www.judsonforlaceycommittee.com/.
Return to Lacey Patch, as we will have more candidate profiles and further coverage of the campaigns leading up to Election Day.