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Councilman Chase Declines To Run For Re-Election, Potosnak Tapped To Run

Township Councilman Ted Chase will not run for re-election.

Longtime Township Councilman Ted Chase has decided to keep his hat out of the ring for re-election this year, capping a 12-year Council career.

The township Democrats hope to replace Chase, who represents Ward 1, with current Board of Education member Ed Potosnak.

Running for re-election are Council members James Vassanella (Ward 5), Charles Onyejiaka (Ward 3), Carl Wright (Ward 4), and newly minted Councilwoman Shepa Uddin (Ward 2).

Chase has made his mark on the Council as an environmental activist, and could be found regularly attending environmentally themed events such as stream cleanups.

Chase said his leaving the Council does not mean an end to his involvement. He said he hopes to stay involved with the township Environmental Advisory Commission, to which he is now the Council liaison.

Chase said there was no particular reason prompting his decision not to run, but he noted that he would be 83 years old by the time of the election, “and I can’t be sure I’d be functional for another four years.”

Chase listed as his biggest accomplishments “getting the leaky, low-pressure Little Rocky Hill water line (constructed when township water didn’t extend south of Franklin Park, and hooked into South Brunswick water) relined and able to stand up to higher pressure (and to be hooked up to NJ American Water at the Kingston end for even better service); getting the Kingston School renovated and reoccupied by the Yinghua School (thanks above all to Ohad Feigenbaum and Princeton International Properties).”

“What hasn’t been done, and I hope will be: make the North-South bicycle trail, starting from  Middlebush, crossing Six Mile Run and extending to Kendall Park, a reality.  John Loos’s idea,” he wrote in an email.

Potosnak, who is also an environmentalist and is the executive director of the NJ League of Conservation Voters, said he wanted to run for Council “to apply my experience in public policy and environmental protection in order to enhance the quality of life in Franklin and control spending.”

“My priorities are ensuring the public is supported during this COVID crisis with local testing, vaccinations, and expanded employment opportunities; attracting high quality businesses back into vacant storefronts and office buildings; improving traffic; and supporting the efforts to build a YMCA in Franklin,” he wrote in a message.

Mayor Phil Kramer said Chase is “one of those people in politics who is not a politician but a statesman.”

“He cares deeply about the issues, he cares deeply about the town, he cares deeply about the the environment,” Kramer said. “You know that when he speaks, it’s not a politician talking in circles, but it’s truly from his heart.”

Chase “brought with him the brainpower of a Rutgers full professor in biochemistry and the historical knowledge of much of the philosophy of this nation,” Kramer said. “His contribution to the town is immeasurable and his service to the township will be greatly missed.”

Township Republican chairman Bob LaCorte said the party has not yet finalized its slate. Candidate petitions are due by April 5.

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