While “change” is a staple slogan of political campaigns, races for public office in quiet communities such as Weymouth Township focus more on keeping things the same.
Stabilizing taxes, maintaining a rural environment and retaining the same level of services are the main issues the field of four candidates running for Weymouth Township Council has on the agenda this year.
There are two open seats — one a full three-year term and the other an unexpired two-year term, and two candidates are competing for each.
For the full term, incumbent Republican Mayor Frank Craig vies for his third term against newcomer Eunice Hogan, a Democrat whose one year on the local school board is her only experience in elected office.
For the unexpired term, incumbent Republican Kenneth Haeser is running against Democrat Dennis Doyle. Haeser was appointed to the term shortly after former committeeman Sean O’Brikis resigned last year.
Hogan, 81, said she is running to represent her fellow retirees in the Oaks of Weymouth senior modular-home park. She said they have not been properly represented on the township’s governing body.
“We have to let the township know about our needs and what we care about,” the 24-year resident said.
Craig, who declined to provide his age, said he would continue working to stabilize taxes and plan for the wooded township’s future — a job that he said requires more than 40 hours of his time a week.
“I think the new candidates have no conception of the time requirements it’s going to take,” the 34-year resident said. “There’s a lot of work going on behind the scenes.”
Craig, owner of Craig Testing Laboratories in Hamilton Township, said he would also aim to get the township out of debt by next year, seek grants to build a sidewalk on Route 50 and support the Dorothy Volunteer Fire Company if it creates its own fire district.
In the race for the two-year term, it’s a matchup between a political newcomer and an incumbent who often says he’s not a politician at all.
“I’m not a guy who’s into politics,” Haeser said, “but I enjoy the job.”
Haeser, 60, has run in several elections before, but has only won one — in 2002, which was uncontested. Like this year, he was appointed to the governing body a year before, so he held office from 2001 to 2005.
Haeser actually was unseated by Craig in 2005 in a narrow race that was nearly decided by absentee ballots.
Haeser originally is from Teaneck, Bergen County, and moved to Dorothy more than 30 years ago. He graduated from Don Bosco Prep in 1968, is a retired Verizon employee and has served on the local school board as well as in the Dorothy fire company and the local Boy Scout troop.
Doyle, 65, is a more-recent transplant, having moved to the Oaks at Weymouth in 2004 after retiring from the Philadelphia Police Department. He has an associate’s degree from the Community College of Philadelphia.
Doyle said he, too, is seeking stable taxes along with continued services, making sure the Dorothy fire department receives adequate funding and that the township’s infrastructure — particularly 11th Avenue — is maintained.
“You have to tighten the belt, I understand that,” he said, “but you have to hold the line as well.”
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