Democrats take over East Brunswick Township Council

(left to right) Assemblywoman Nancy Pinkin, Councilman Kevin McEvoy, Councilwoman Sharon Sullivan, Council President Sterley Stanley, Council Vice President James Wendell, Councilman Michael Spadafino, and Mayor Brad Cohen during the township's annual reorganization meeting on Jan. 1 at the municipal building. COURTESY OF THE TOWNSHIP OF EAST BRUNSWICK
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(left to right) Assemblywoman Nancy Pinkin, Councilman Kevin McEvoy, Councilwoman Sharon Sullivan, Council President Sterley Stanley, Council Vice President James Wendell, Councilman Michael Spadafino, and Mayor Brad Cohen during the township's annual reorganization meeting on Jan. 1 at the municipal building. COURTESY OF THE TOWNSHIP OF EAST BRUNSWICK

EAST BRUNSWICK – Being administered their oaths of office, Kevin McEvoy and Sharon Sullivan, along with incumbent James Wendell, were sworn into East Brunswick’s governing body on New Year’s Day.

More than 80 residents attended the township’s annual reorganization meeting on Jan. 1 at the municipal building.

Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin said he was asked by Wendell to swear him into office, and that he was honored to do so.

“I looked at the folks who had gotten elected here today and the one thing they have in common is a real commitment and roots in the community. … Wendell, all of his life, McEvoy, more than 30 years, Sullivan nearly 25 years – each of them is involved in their community in ways large and small,” Coughlin said. “Each of them has helped make that foundation of East Brunswick part of their lives. So, we are very fortunate to have them all today.”

All three council members will serve a four-year term on the council.

Wendell thanked his family, former Councilman Michael Hughes and Mayor Brad Cohen for their support while he has served on the council.

“This team that we have now, from my experience, is one of the most collaborative teams and group of people here who will be dedicating their time for one reason and one reason only, to make a better East Brunswick,” Wendell said. “Throughout my time serving the residents, I have learned many things but the most important thing I’ve learned is how to come together and work for the betterment of East Brunswick. Being a lifelong member of East Brunswick that’s my only goal, is a better East Brunswick.”

Serving his third term on the council, Wendell said last year he changed from the Republican party to being a Democrat.

“Two years ago, as you all know, I had a different letter before my name. I was a [Republican] rather than a [Democrat], and Cohen and I ran against one another two years ago and I told him to his face many times, ‘The best mayor won that campaign and won that election.’ He has become a great friend, he has embraced me and my ideas … so [Cohen] thank you for everything, thank you for supporting me and thank you for confiding in me and making me part of your team.”

Assemblywoman Nancy Pinkin said she was asked by Sullivan to swear her into office. Pinkin is a former East Brunswick councilwoman.

“Our three candidates are here at a time that we really are changing and on a crossroads for East Brunswick. [Cohen] has been working very hard to really put his vision forward,” she said. “We have three great candidates who have a very strong depth in the community who have volunteered in so many ways, served in so many ways, worked so many ways in the community. It’s an honor to be here with all of them.”

Sullivan said she is looking forward to serving all residents of the township.

“As I stand here before all of you today my promise is a simple one. I will give East Brunswick only positive energy [and] will work tirelessly with all the council people, other elected officials and township employees in an open, honest, positive and engaging matter,” Sullivan said. “My decision making will be based on what the residents want and need and what is best for them. After all, I, too, am a resident. In the end, it doesn’t matter what party you are from or who you voted for, we all want the same: a stronger, a more dynamic, fiscally-responsible, united East Brunswick.”

McEvoy was sworn into office by Superior Judge Peter J. Barnes III.

“It’s a pleasure and honor to be here with my good friend McEvoy and I have known McEvoy for many years. A person of tremendous, integrity and energy I am very pleased and grateful that he has asked me to swear him in today,” Barnes said.

Reading a passage from Jon Meacham’s book “The Soul of America,” McEvoy said, “‘History, as nearly no one seems to know, is not merely something to be read and it does not refer merely or even principally to the past. On the contrary, the great force of history comes from the fact that we carry it with us, are unconsciously controlled by it in many ways and history is literally present in all that we do.’ That history is present in all that we do. May the history that we conduct here afford us the ability to say that we worked our hardest for all of the residents of East Brunswick.”

Contact Vashti Harris at vharris@newspapermediagroup.com.