JACKSON – Although her running mates from two years ago won’t be joining her in a re-election bid, Councilwoman Emily Ingram said she feels no less committed to building on her freshman term in office.
A certified public accountant and Brooklyn native who moved here with her husband and children six years ago, the only incumbent on the May 13th ballot welcomes a debate with former committeeman Michael Kafton on the fiscal foibles of Jackson Township.
Ingram contends last year’s 30% tax hike was a consequence of Democrat Kafton and the former administration, and not the fault of Republican Mayor Mark Seda and the present council.
"I’m so happy they’re running on that,’ she said of rivals Kafton, Michael Reina and Bobbie Rivere, who maintain that the same budget increase in this year’s township budget cannot be blamed on the administration of two years ago.
The 45-year old councilwoman, who’s running for another two year term with Planning Board Member Todd Porter and Charles Garafano of the Municipal Utilities Authority, stays focused on what she says was the prior administration’s fiscal train wreck. She said she punched the numbers after she was elected in 2006 and confirmed with the administrator at the time that the township’s budget showed an 18.6 % increase, which the prior council had already spent.
"They didn’t pass the budget because that would have killed them in an election year," said Ingram. "They spent the money and we took the blame. I don’t care what they say, the numbers do not lie. The debt doubled from $18 million to $36 million.."
Ingram said she wants to continue to try to stabilize Jackson’s tax rate, and eschews the notion that because she is a Republican on an all-GOP council that she is acting as a rubber stamp for Seda.
"We have the same philosophy," she said of the current council. "We’re very conservative. I think a mix of different philosophies will result in a lot of arguing instead of focusing on the issue at hand.
"Mike’s style is very combative," she added of Kafton, her most recognizable opponent. "His goal is to become mayor, for what I don’t know. I have no interest in being mayor. A Big time no. My personality is to do the work and be the research person. Mike’s goal is to be elected."
Of her former running mates’ decisions not to seek re-election, Ingram said, "no comment."
"My running mates this year have a lot to offer," she said. "Todd Porter is lifelong resident, and Charlie is a senior who has an accounting background. It’s going to be great to have another set of eyes. They’re like me. They love Jackson and when you have a passion for something, how can you go wrong?"