Kelly seeks reelection, is running on his ‘golden record’

By John V. Kelly

I am running for re-election to the Nutley Board of Commissioners. It is hard to believe that four years have passed since you, the voters, elected me as the newest and youngest commissioner in the history of the Township of Nutley. I was truly humbled and honored in the trust and faith that you placed in me, and as I said when I was sworn in “public service is a public trust.”

I have dubbed my record for my first term as commissioner as a “Golden Record” because I truly believe it is worthy of the title. One promise I made to you was that I would cut town spending. Every politician makes that promise, but few deliver on it. I am one of the few who can proudly say that they delivered on that promise, and I did it in the midst of record inflation in terms of costs and after the sunset of the 2% cap while increasing services.

Despite the odds, I was able to cut the Department of Public Affairs Budget by 1.2% over the last three years. I took office during the height of the pandemic and I was placed in charge of Nutley’s COVID-19 response. It was one of the best responses in the county. Nutley was one of only three towns in the county to have local vaccine clinics.

I am a proud veteran. It was an honor to lead Nutley’s Department of Veterans affairs. Through my leadership, we expanded access to mental health counseling for veterans, we recouped millions of dollars in benefits incorrectly denied to veterans and created new veterans’ focused events such as the Veterans’ Day Ruck March.

Mental health is an important issue, one that disproportionally affects veterans. I sponsored the legislation to make Nutley a stigma free town to reduce the stigma for those seeking help for mental health. I also strengthened our partnership with a number of mental health counseling organizations, such as Nutley Family Service Bureau, and put on numerous mental health panels for the town and schools.

Addiction is a mental health issue and everyone knows someone who suffered an overdose. That is why I created the Addiction Recovery Resource Center, which offers counseling for those struggling with addiction, resources and information on how to get help and lifesaving training for friends and family.

This new department was described by a public health expert as the model for what can be done at the local level.

I also brought fresh ideas to how the town reaches residents by utilizing social media platforms, creating the first Nutley Public Affairs App and using QR codes next to town monuments to share our town’s rich history.

The Department of Public Affairs hosted a number of women-focused events, particularly during Women’s History Month, that focused on networking, health, mental health and empowering young women by bringing in trailblazing women to speak to them about their accomplishments and challenges achieving them.

On top of this, I made it a point to focus on individuals with special needs. I started a new program called Rise Beyond, which works with the Chamber of Commerce and the Special Needs Community to place people with special needs with employers and jobs that are aligned with their interest to allow them to be contributing members of society and have meaningful employment.

Looking to the future, importantly, we are at a critical point in the town’s redevelopment projects. I bring with me not only my experience as a commissioner, but my skill as an attorney. I am a partner at a large New Jersey law firm, I published scholarly legal articles and I have been honored and received accolades from the New Jersey Law Journal and Best Lawyers.

Keeping an experienced negotiator on the Board of Commissioners is vital at this juncture as the redevelopers and investors would love nothing more than to get one over on the town to maximize their profits.

I bring my wealth of experience and would leverage my skillset to ensure that Nutley’s interests are not only protected but are paramount. Nutley cannot afford a set back by having a new commissioner who needs to learn advanced legal topics and requires “on the job” training.

As election day approaches, please look at my “Golden Record” and consider me for one of your votes.

Commissioner John V. Kelly III

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