Richardson and Barry represent Harding’s past and future

EDITOR: My name is Molly Riley and I’m writing to encourage my fellow Harding citizens to vote for Amanda Richardson and Kate Barry.

Amanda and Kate have been my long-time friends, and would bring some much-needed perspective to the Harding Township Committee.

I grew up in Harding, just like Kate and Amanda, and we are part of a new generation who have decided to make a life in their hometown.

These past few years, I have attended many Harding Township Committee meetings, and I have been incredibly disappointed in the myopic thought process of the committee.

They preach keeping taxes low – although they have gone up recently for the vast majority of Harding residents – but they seldom spend much time on other pressing issues that affect the future of our community.

Even if taxes are low to the current residents relative to state averages, they are missing the bigger picture that Harding is not affordable for people like me who want to move back home.

Affordable housing requirements have been determined by the courts and yet the Township Committee has kicked the can down the road. I believe they should be proactively planning for this. Being thoughtful about long-term planning will allow us to continue to shape our community as we prefer, while we also offer affordable housing for people who need it and in areas deemed suitable.

Kate and Amanda understand the importance of being proactive and how essential thoughtful planning is for preserving Harding’s character, and also allowing for space for people like myself. It’s no secret that we as a town are reliant on volunteerism as the lifeblood of our community and keeping taxes notoriously low.

This works until there are no more young people able to settle in the town to take up the mantle of our volunteer organizations. I’ve seen this at events such as the Fire Department Auction fundraiser.

I’m often the youngest volunteer by many decades and the senior members are worried that there are fewer and fewer people coming up behind them to keep their services going.

Kate and Amanda can tackle these challenges with an understanding of Harding’s values and traditions and the needs of my generation. They have been endorsed by both the Morris County Young Democrats and the New Jersey Young Democrats in recognition of the plans they have to make sure younger people are included in the fabric of our community.

Besides not sowing the seeds for future generations to keep young people moving into the town and upholding these institutions, I’ve also been concerned by the lack of care for our public spaces, particularly Bayne Park. I have seen more and more litter at Bayne Park due and dead fish in the water likely from algae blooms.

This is also myopic thinking at work to keep spending in the town low even with a generous tax surpluses that is leaving Bayne Park less pristine than what I remember as a child. Considering that Kate and Amanda are both endorsed by the League of Conservation Voters -a nonpartisan organization that has open endorsements for anyone who applies- I trust that they are the best environmental candidates that will preserve the town for future generations.

Overall, electing Kate and Amanda to the Harding Township Committee would mean having candidates with the best understanding of Harding’s past and what Harding will need in the future.

It’s a vote for lifetime residents that understand Harding’s values, but with the skills and perspective to create the future that will keep our community thriving.

MOLLY RILEY

Youngs Road, Harding Township

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