LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Councilman Tom Gibbons acted correctly

To the editor: 
As Americans recently honored and celebrated the Labor Day holiday, marking the unofficial end of summer, many will begin to notice campaign signs, and political literature and advertisements.
Just as quickly as the summer sets, campaign season commences leading up to Election Day on Nov. 3. In the borough of Jamesburg, there will be no repeat of last year’s mismanagement of the electoral process and the seriously deficient handling of voting laws. Last year’s election in Jamesburg ultimately resulted in an inability for all voters to consider candidates from both major parties seeking to represent them in a fair and equitable manner.
During last year’s campaign season, Jamesburg Councilman Tom Gibbons, who also serves as the borough’s Republican chairman, discovered that the Republican candidates nominated by write-in vote in the June 2014 primary election had not accepted their nomination. Middlesex County Board of Election rules allow for filling of vacancies in situations such as this one. Republican Chairman Gibbons, acting within Board of Election rules, asked the Middlesex County Clerk to replace the vacancies with two new candidates.
The county clerk twice denied GOP Chairman Gibbons’ request, reasoning that because the candidates did not accept their nominations, technically there was no vacancy to fill. GOP Chairman Gibbons later discovered that case law contradicts the county clerk’s ruling. Acting responsibly, Councilman Gibbons sued the county clerk to have two new candidates placed on the ballot. The county clerk’s ruling was incorrect. Her decision served as an impasse for Jamesburg voters looking for choices and varying voices during the election.
The borough of Jamesburg spent over $3,000 in court fees. Mayor (Marlene) Lowande, and then Councilman (Brian) Taylor, publicly blamed Councilman Gibbons for the cost. It is to be noted that despite the impassioned and inflammatory tones from the accusers, the $3,000 legal expense was within the budget, therefore no blame can be laid on Councilman Gibbons for increasing taxes, or for anything related to this incident.
Councilman Gibbons was doing his civic duty for voters when he sued the Middlesex County Clerk to have Republican candidates on the ballot last fall. As the Jamesburg Republican chairman, it was his right and responsibility to include these candidates on the ballot for the general election in November. As an American, it was his duty to give voters every chance to have that choice. If there was even a shadow of a doubt that Republican candidates were excluded unfairly, Councilman Gibbons was morally obliged to act, because voters have a fundamental right and expectation to have a choice when they step into the voting booth.
As Councilman Gibbons said, “Let us not be Democrats or Republicans. Let us be honest; let us be fair; and let us serve in the best interest of the hard working people of Jamesburg.”
In my opinion, Mayor Lowande and then Councilman Taylor both owe Councilman and Chairman Gibbons an apology since he acted correctly. In fact, they owe voters of Jamesburg an apology as well for grossly distorting facts and acting in a partisan manner at a public meeting. Mayor Lowande and Mr. Taylor should have recognized the value of choice and honored the voters of Jamesburg by agreeing to have both Democrat and Republican candidates on the ballot.
Councilman Gibbons is dedicated to being taxpayer friendly and an intelligent public servant. He acted correctly within three important sets of guidelines: those of Republican Party rules, those of the Middlesex County Board of Elections, and most importantly, those of the best interests of Jamesburg voters. 
Gregory Newton 
Jamesburg 