Chris Kelly Sworn In As Township Mayor

Kelly swearing in2

Chris Kelly, center, is sworn in as mayor by township clerk Ann Marie McCarthy as his wife, Debbie, holds the Bible at the Jan. 13 Township Council meeting.

He’s a triathlete, a pastry chef and now, a mayor.

Township native Chris Kelly was sworn in as mayor at the Jan. 13 Township Council meeting, replacing Brian Levine, who has moved on to the Somerset County Board of Chosen Freeholders.

Kelly will serve out the final year of what would have been Levine’s third term. Levine was the first Franklin mayor directly elected by residents.

Kelly has said that he would probably run for a full term in November.

Kelly was one of three nominees forwarded to the council by the township Republican party. The other two were party chairman Bob LaCorte and Raleigh Steinhauer, an attorney.

There was a little drama leading up to Kelly’s selection by the council. Councilman Rajiv Prasad (D-At Large) nominated Kelly, while Councilman Phil Kramer (D-Ward 3) nominated LaCorte.

Kramer and Councilman Ted Chase (D-Ward 1) voted for LaCorte, while Prasad, Councilman James Vassanella (D-Ward 5), Councilwoman Roz Sherman (D-Ward 2) and Deputy Mayor Kimberly Francois (D-At Large) voted for Kelly.

But that was all forgotten as Kelly made his way around the dais, shaking hands with his new colleagues.

“This is an exciting opportunity to help run the town where I was born,” Kelly said. “Every day, I realize how lucky I am to live in this township, among my family and friends.”

Kelly thanked his “long-suffering” wife, Debbie, who held the Bible for him as he was sworn in, and Levine, for his “11 years of service” to the township.

Kelly said that even though the council is all Democrat and he’s a Republican, “I’m confident that we can find common ground.”

“Being appointed to this position means more than you can all know,” he said.

Kelly is a member of the township Trails Advisory Committee and the Somerset County OPen Space Committee, both of which positions he will have to resign.

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