Election 2019: Township Republicans Introduce Municipal Candidates

The Franklin Township Republican candidates: (left to right) Alhaji “Noah” Fofanah, Christina Ganzer-Zambri, Beverly Brigg-Lawson and Santhosh “Sam” Velu. Photo: Franklin GOP.

With “One Franklin, One Family” as their campaign slogan, the four township Republicans running for Mayor and Township Council say they will, “return civility to the council and provide strong checks and balances in the local government.”

The four Republican candidates are Beverly Briggs-Lawson, who is running for mayor; Santhosh “Sam” Velu, Alhaji “Noah” Fofanah and Christina Ganzer-Zambri, who are running for At-Large seats on the Township Council.

“Our slate represents the vibrant diversity of Franklin Township,” township GOP chairman Bob LaCorte said in an April 4 press release.

A former Marine and police officer at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Briggs-Lawson is a 20-year township resident.

She has also served on the Somerset County Commission on the Status of Women, which addresses issues facing women in Somerset County. She currently works as Operations Manager at the George J. Otlowski Sr. Mental Health Center.

“Franklin is currently experiencing many challenges; it is time for new ideas and bold action,” she said. “I believe we’re best served when public officials listen to residents. I will listen and I will take action. I will work to restore community involvement in decisions affecting our town and respond to your concerns.”

A township resident since 1998, Velu is a vice president of a Tampa, Fla.-based sales and delivery firm.

Velu is a coach and board member of the Franklin Township Soccer Club, and is actively involved in the St. Matthias Employment Ministry, where he aids parishioners with resume writing, interviewing, networking and the use of technology to help them land jobs.

He also volunteers with the state Department of Labor, teaching teh use of technology in teh job-seeking process, and has worked with the Hamilton Street Advisory Board to bring business to the Hamilton Street Business District.

“What I love about Franklin is its diversity,” Velu said. “There is something for everyone. A few years back we were ranked the 5th best city in the US and I could not agree more or be prouder to live here.”

“I am passionate about making sure children have a place to play after school and that there are enough fields to cater to all sports for the residents of Franklin,” he said. “Our open space should be protected. I have been a parent in private, public, and charter schools and want the best education for all of our students.”

“Bringing businesses back to our township is a priority,” Velu said. “I understand the challenges faced by our community and hope that we can overcome them while we continue to grow. I especially believe in building relationships with residents to work toward these goals.”

A native of Sierra Leone, Fofanah and a sibling escaped that country’s civil war to teh Unite States in 1999.

A U.S. Army veteran, Fofanah is currently employed as the Quality Assurance Coordinator and Residential Manager for Delta Community Service in Raritan.

Fofanah is a member of the Sierra Leonean Community of New Jersey, mentors children and is a founding member of the Sierra Leone American Veterans Organization.

“If I am elected as your councilman-at-large, I will be loyal to the people of Franklin Township and fight the good fight for them,” he said. “I will fulfill my duty as a councilman by doing what is morally right and professional. I will treat each and every citizen and fellow council members with the respect they deserve.”

“I will put the welfare of Franklin first, before my own personal interest or party,” he said. “Integrity will be my focus, always doing what is right morally and legally. Last but not least, my personal courage will always be my guide to stand up for my values that align with the Republican values of ‘family first’.”

A Franklin native, Ganzer-Zambri is a member of Franklin High School Class of 1994. After earning a B.A. in German from Rutgers University, she worked for several years before attending Loyola University in Chicago for her MBA.

Working in Minneapolis for several years, Ganzer-Zambri returned to Franklin in 2005. She is currently a marketing consultant for the National Model Railroad Association.

She is also a member of the Franklin Women’s Club, and volunteers her time helping small businesses with marketing needs.

“What I loved about Franklin schools was the diversity,” she said. “No matter your background, interests, etc., there was a group for you.”

“I love and care about Franklin and want to ensure the town and its residents have a wonderful place to live,” she said. “This is local politics and we have local issues. We all live in Franklin and have the common goal of bringing out the best in Franklin.”


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