Rick Proctor, a freeholder recently promoted to a $170,000 job as city health director, believes that despite annual tax increases, rising unemployment and a floundering downtown economy, the city is on the right track and needs to stay the course.
Renee Thrash, whose sister is school board member Deborah Bridges, says there are a lot of changes needed to put city government to work for people who have been left behind by development.
Proctor boosters say he is most qualified, but his campaign has not released any position statements to back up that claim other than a long resume. By comparison, Th rash has posted detailed policy statements on her thrashformayor.com website and in several news releases, including a proposed $95,000 municipal salary cap, a prescription to reign in municipal debt and plans to restore better services for local neighborhoods.
Critics note that Proctor voted to raise county taxes every year as a freeholder and on the school board, he voted for 12 straight tax increases.
Thrash is expected to win in a landslide, according to James J. Devine, the political strategist who ran four Mayor Kennedy re-election campaigns. “Aside from the historic opportunity to elect the first woman and first black mayor in Rahway, the desire for change is very strong here,” said Devine.
“When you read campaign literature from Rick Proctor that talks about ‘Rahway’s lively downtown’ and then you drive around seeing his signs in all the empty storefronts, it shows how out of touch the politicians have become,” said Devine. “With 32 years in government, that’s not the change we need to move Rahway in a better direction.”
“Renee Thrash is intelligent, competent and most qualified because she is all about people,” he said. “With the massive downtown development it is time to refocus on flesh and blood instead of bricks and mortar.”
“Thrash recruited a great team of running mates. Her opponent offers more of the same,” he said.
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