Election Day in Sparta: Four candidates vie for three Township Council seats

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  • A sign atop a parked truck promotes candidates John Finkeldie, David Smith, and Molly Whilesmith, who say they speak with one voice. Whilesmith currently serves on Township Council and says together they would "enhance the quality of life for Spartans."

  • Dan Chiariello rides his bike to get the word out that he's running for Sparta Township Council. He's hoping for various viewpoints to be represented on the council, and making the case for enhanced transparency, and comprehensive outreach to residents.

Sparta - Candidate for Township Council Dan Chiariello this week pedaled around the township with his campaign sign on the back of his bicycle, after seeing his opponents' campaign sign hitched to the back of a pickup truck in the Stop N Shop parking lot. On Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, residents select from a list of four candidates who are vying to fill three seats for a four-year term on the Township Council. The candidates are; John H. Finkeldie, David F. Smith, Dan Chiariello, and Molly Whilesmith.

What differentiates one candidate from another? Chiariello noted several differences, including that he would like to see enhanced transparency and more effective outreach to residents, such as ensuring that residents are not left opening various individual PDFs in order to learn about Sparta's newsworthy topics. He'd rather see a comprehensive, less siloed approach to keeping the public informed. He'd also like to see people with different viewpoints being able to have representation on the council.

Finkeldie, Smith, and Whilesmith declined to answer what differentiates them from one another or from Chiarello, and instead Whilesmith issued a statement that Finkeldie and Smith signed onto. Whilesmith explained that Smith, Finkeldie, and Whilesmith "speak with one voice."

She stated, "I will continue to advocate for the taxpayer while providing the necessary services that enhance the quality of life for Spartans. I know that John Finkeldie and David Smith share my goals and vision for our community."

In addition to incumbent Whilesmith's seat, the other two seats are open since Joshua Hertzberg is not seeking re-election to the Council because he is running for Sussex County Freeholder. Other Freeholder candidates are; Wayne Lavante, Dawn Fantasia, Patrick Curreri, and Howard Zatkowsky.

There are three open seats for Sparta Board of Elections with five candidates; Karen Scott, Kathryn Matteson, Jennifer Grana, Christian Arnold, Vanessa Serrano, and Jennifer Hamilton. In addition to deciding on Senate and House candidates, New Jerseyans's ballot question asks about taking up to $500 million in bonds for school-related initiatives that would include security and water infrastructure.

Polls are open from 6 a.m. until 8 p.m. today. Watch for Election Night updates at www.spartaindependent.com

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