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Township Democrats Announce Council/Mayor Choices: Kramer Tops Ticket, Prasad Not Included

Township Councilman Rajiv Prasad will not run for re-election on the Democratic ticket in November. (File photo).


For the first time since 2008, Rajiv Prasad will not be on the Democratic ticket for an At-Large Township Council seat.

Township Democrats have thrown their support to the re-election of Mayor Phil Kramer and At-Large Councilwoman Kimberly Francois, and the election of Councilwoman Crystal Pruitt and newcomer Sivaraman Anbarasan.

Ron Jordan, the township Democrats’ chairman, said that Prasad “decided not to run.”

Kramer is finishing his first four-year term as mayor, after having served six years as a Councilman from the 3rd Ward.

Kramer is “looking forward to keeping tight reins on the budget and promoting responsible economic development,” according to a press release from the township Democrats.

A neurologist, Kramer is also a veteran of the U.S. Air Force – for which he flew B-52 bombers – an aerospace engineer and a computer scientist.

Francois, a 14-year Council veteran, has been involved in a number of youth-oriented programs, including being the founder and leader of the Franklin Youth Initiative, the Teen Recreation program, Trunk or Treat, and the Somerset County Community Action Program.

Francois is also spearheading the effort to build the Franklin Youth Center on Lewis Street.

Francois is an Information Technology executive working in the health care industry.

Pruitt was named to the Council in January, following the election of former Councilwoman Shanel Robinson to the Somerset County Board of Chosen Freeholders.

The Chief of Staff to Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker (D-16), Pruitt is a Franklin native and graduate of Franklin High School. According to the release, Pruitt has “quickly become the person on Council to liaison between Council and the State as evidenced by her ability to arrange for a face-to-face meeting with members of the governing bodies of Franklin Township, South Brunswick, and representatives of the Governor’s office to discuss the stopping of compressor station 206.”

Pruitt has taken an interest in public safety, and has begun ride-alongs with the Franklin Township Police Department.

Anbarasan, a township Sewerage Authority Commissioner, is the Executive Director of the NJ Community College Consortium for Workforce & Economic Development and has been in higher education for more than 14 years, working at Camden County College, Sussex County Community College. Prior to that, he spent 24 years in the IT industry.

In the Democrats’ release, Anbarasan said he would work to meet “the workforce development needs of the employer community, and economic development in Franklin Township through various statewide grants and other available incentive programs. He will further assist the township in improving efficiency using his management and technology background with an eye towards reducing expenses.”

Prasad, a three-term Councilman, has come under constant criticism since at least May, 2018, for the way in which her went about trying to get a “peace and nonviolence” memorial park built on a piece of township open space on the former Consolata property on Route 27.

Revelations that Prasad tried to get Township Manager Robert Vornlocker to fix parking tickets for parishioners at a township church, and that he may have tried to influence a municipal court judge in a tenant-landlord dispute led to the Council censuring Prasad at the end of 2018.

A citizens’ group efforts to try to force a recall election against Prasad was not successful, and the group has now pivoted and is demanding his resignation. Prasad has refused to resign, saying that the people who elected him want him to finish his term.

There was no indication of whether Prasad would try an independent run to reclaim his seat in November.

 

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