MIDDLE TOWNSHIP — A pair of political newcomers will vie for one seat on the Township Committee on Tuesday.
Michael Clark, of Swainton, looks to ensure outgoing Committeewoman Susan DeLanzo’s vacant seat remains Democratic, while Melanie Collins looks to make all three seats Republican.
Clark is bank manager in the Cape May branch of Sturdy Savings Bank and has been a member of the Cape May Court House Volunteer Fire Company for 19 years.
Clark has been president of the fire company for the last 15 years. He said it was his experience leading that team that convinced him to run for committee.
“I really just wanted to get more involved,” he said. “I love what I do as far as being a volunteer in the fire company, I want to get involved more in the community.”
In addition to the administrative experience Clark has through his work with the fire company, he believes his work in finance would serve him well on the Township Committee. He also believes his lack of ties to Middle Township politics would help him bring a fresh perspective to the committee. Collins, while she has never held or run for office, worked on the campaigns of Mayor Dan Lockwood and Deputy Mayor Tim Donohue.
If elected, Clark said he will keep taxes from rising and work to find a positive resolution to ongoing affordable housing controversy.
Collins, of Cape May Court House, grew up in Middle Township and graduated from Middle Township High School. Like Clark, she has experience in finance. She teaches financial literacy and accounting at a high school. She also teaches computer application.
As a holder of a master’s degree in public administration, Collins said her education would help her make Middle Township work more efficiently. She also plans to make the township government more accessible through technology and hopes to create new jobs by attracting businesses.
As an African-American woman, Collins said, she believes she will bring a different perspective to the committee.
“Having grown up as a minority in Middle Township myself, I think I bring a different perspective and a different angle than Tim (Donohue) or Dan (Lockwood) would have,” she said.
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