Six enter race in Jackson

Staff Writer

Six Jackson residents have filed nominating petitions to run for a seat in local government in the Nov. 4 election. The deadline for residents to file a petition to run for mayor or a seat on the Jackson Township Council was Sept. 2.

This year, two four-year terms on the council are up for grabs, as well as the position of mayor, which also carries a fouryear term.

Jackson has a nonpartisan form of government and residents do not need to obtain the backing of a political party to run for office. There is no primary election.

According to Township Clerk Ann Marie Eden, incumbent council members Scott Martin and Ann Updegrave filed petitions to seek re-election. They will be challenged by Nathan Grosshandler and Denise Garner.

The candidates for mayor are the incumbent, Michael Reina, and William Spedding.

Updegrave and Martin have served on the council since Jackson changed to its current form of government in July 2006. Prior to the change, Updegrave served on the Township Committee.

Reina was elected to the Township Council in 2008, according to Eden. While on the council, he was appointed mayor following the resignation of Mark Seda from that position.

In a special election in November 2009, Reina was elected to serve the remainder of Seda’s mayoral term. In 2010, Reina was elected to a four-year term as mayor. He is now seeking another full term as mayor. Spedding, Grosshandler and Garner are running together under the “Jackson Deserves Better” ticket.

According to a campaign webpage, Grosshandler is a lifelong resident of Jackson who graduated from Jackson Memorial High School in 1996. He returned to the school district as a teacher from 2001-06. He has been active as a sports coach for various youth leagues.

Garner has been a member of the Jackson Environmental Commission since 2002. She is also a member of a local environmental organization called Save, Preserve and Respect our Environment, which lobbies officials to keep areas of Jackson rural.

During his career, Spedding served as the public works director for Rockaway Township in Morris County. He also served as the lead budget analyst for Jersey City before becoming the Jersey City director of public works.

Locally, Spedding has been a member of Jackson’s Citizen Budget Advisory Committee.

Eden said each candidate was required to have at least 362 signatures on his or her nominating petition to be considered for placement on the ballot.