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Cherry Hill mayor, council Democrats seek reelection

Three members of the Cherry Hill council and Mayor Chuck Cahn, all Democrats, seek to return to office in this year's elections.

Mayor Chuck Cahn said he ran Cherry Hill like a business.
Mayor Chuck Cahn said he ran Cherry Hill like a business.Read more

Three members of the Cherry Hill council and Mayor Chuck Cahn, all Democrats, seek to return to office in this year's elections.

Cahn will be opposed by Republican mayoral candidate Phil Guerrieri Sr., and GOP council candidates Nancy O'Dowd, Stephen Cohen, and Rick Short will challenge incumbents Sara Lipsett, who is council president, and members Melinda Kane and Brian Bauerle.

The Republican slate plans to file its petitions Monday, Cherry Hill GOP Chairman Jeffrey J. Land said Friday.

Monday at 4 p.m. is the deadline for candidates to file petitions for New Jersey public office.

"The mayor and seven-member council are outstanding community and government leaders," said Jeffrey L. Nash, cochair of the Cherry Hill Democratic Party. "The mayor has successfully mixed economic development with quality-of-life improvements while holding the line on taxes."

Land, however, said that under the Democrats the township had lacked "a forward-looking vision."

The township "used to be the destination that people would take bus rides to just to see its mall, and to gamble at its racetrack. Now, we're not that anymore. . . . We are more like a typical suburb."

Cherry Hill holds staggered elections every two years. Three members are running for reelection this year, and four will run in 2017. Each winner in the November election will serve a four-year term.

Bauerle, who was appointed to fill the unexpired term of John Amato, who died, seeks election for the first time.

Cahn, 60, former owner and chief executive officer of Stewart Business Systems, said he had run Cherry Hill "like a business," with an emphasis on efficient and effective government.

The township has not had a municipal tax increase in three years.

"When the voters elected me as mayor four years ago, I pledged to work full-time to run Cherry Hill like a business, ensure fiscal responsibility, promote economic development, and keep our neighborhoods safe and vibrant," Cahn said in a statement announcing his reelection bid last week.

Cahn, who donates his $109,106 salary back to taxpayers, said among his other accomplishments was making smart investments in roads, sewers, public safety, and recreation.

He boasted of leading the fight to preserve open space, including the historic Woodcrest Country Club (a case to build affordable-housing units at the site under COAH is pending in court), adopting property maintenance regulations, securing nearly $4 million in grant funding, and managing the township's debt.

Land countered that the incumbents "don't necessarily represent the interests of Cherry Hill."

"They didn't seem to think it was a big deal that Subaru was being moved to Camden. They didn't seem to think it would be a problem to put apartments at the old Haddonfield lumber yard. And they don't seem to think they have to tell us what they are doing. Red-light cameras being a prime example."

Of the three council candidates, Nash said, "each is independent in their own way and brings their separate sense of community that strengthens the council."

Lipsett, 41, is an advocate for recreation and parks and is involved with parent-teacher groups. She's executive board member and president of the Horace Mann Elementary School Parent Teacher Association. She was elected to council in 2008.

Bauerle, 40, has been involved in recreation programs in Cherry Hill for years, both as a coach and a school board volunteer. He serves on the board of the Cherry Hill Soccer Club, and is a member of the Barclay Farm Swim Club. Bauerle, who was appointed to council in late 2014, is also an assistant vice president of the Cooper Foundation, which serves as the philanthropic and community outreach arm of the Cooper Health System.

Kane, 57, lost her son, Marine Lance Cpl. Jeremy Kane, who was killed in the line of duty in Afghanistan. Elected to council in 2011, Kane said her son's death reenergized her to give back to the community, especially to military families and veterans. She sits on the board of Heroes for Heroes, a nonprofit organization that provides support to them.

On the GOP side, Guerrieri owns an engineering and construction company in Philadelphia; O'Dowd, a former school board member, is a nurse-practitioner; Cohen is a dentist; and Short is best known for his efforts to eliminate the red-light cameras on Route 70.