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Toms River Mayoral Candidates Debate the Issues at WOBM

Toms River Mayoral Candidates
Toms River Mayoral Candidates (L-R) Paul Brush (D), Donald Flett (I), Tom Keleher (R) (by Dino Flammia)

Watch the debate in full

The leader of the big happy Township Family, the Caped Crusader or the Cerebral Municipal Official … Those are the choices of ideologies Toms River residents will have to choose from when selecting a Mayor this fall.

During a debate, held at the Bob Levy Broadcast Center in Bayville N.J. Wednesday night, residents where able to hear from incumbent Republican Mayor Tom Keleher, former Democratic Mayor Paul Brush and Independent Candidate Donald Flett.

Each candidate addressed the topics of Economic Development, Reducing the Cost of Local Government, Education and Crime Fighting as the State-mandated 2% property tax hovered over their heads in considering answers.

Toms River Mayor Tom Keleher and former Mayor Paul Brush both have a well-documented track record of the decisions they’ve made. Keleher spoke of instituting the Township’s first hiring freeze and successful efforts in negotiating with unions to help cut cost. Brush, on the other hand, admits to joining the political race driven by outrage over what he sees as the abuse of a one party rule without checks and balances.

Independent Donald Flett, an engineer by trade, expressed a great deal of respect for both former Mayors but believes its time to give an Independent a chance to run Township Government. During the debate, he says if elected he would cut spending 25% over a four year period and says the spending cuts will start with the Mayors’ salary and perks.

Each candidate addressed how they would help stimulate commerce. Mayor Keleher believes a growth in small businesses holds the key to economic growth, while Flett says he’d make it a priority to attract more manufacturing companies and Brush believes we should seek the knowledge of Township business leaders by setting up a Business Advisory Council.

When it comes to crime fighting both Keleher and Brush believe working with the Chief of Police to maintain Police Staffing levels and Working with other Law Enforcement agencies as top priorities. Flett, on the other hand, believes in taking a systemic approach to public safety realizing that we don’t have unlimited resources and that Toms River is a relatively safe community compared to the state’s beleaguered urban area.

Toms River residents can replay and view the entire debate Here and decide for themselves which candidate will best lead the Township for the next four years.

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