2 running for Wantage Township Committee seat in GOP primary

WANTAGE. Justin Dudzinski and Justin Vander Groef vie for seat held by Mayor Jon Morris, who did not seek re-election.

| 04 May 2023 | 10:31

Two candidates are competing for one seat on the Wantage Township Committee in the Republican primary June 6.

Mayor Jon Morris, whose term expires Dec. 31, did not seek re-election.

The Township Committee has three members, who select the mayor and deputy mayor from among themselves.

Here are the candidates’ statements:

Justin Dudzinski

I am running for this office for several reasons. This wasn’t a sudden decision but rather the next logical step in my career at the township level.

As the father of three little girls and a local business owner, I am very concerned about the future of Wantage and its families.

Wantage represents many things to many people. Part of my role on the committee will be to help keep taxes in check.

Important decisions are made every month that affect everyone in Wantage. I would like to have as much input as possible in regard to spending so I can help control the bottom line for every taxpayer.

Keeping taxes in check while balancing the benefits of every expenditure is a difficult task and shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Another reason I am running is to help decide the best use of resources within the township. I have had great experiences as a member of the Land Use Board and Open Space Committee.

As part of Land Use, I have helped decide the best use of property for both business and recreational purposes. As a member of the Open Space Committee, I have helped to identify properties to be purchased by the municipality for taxpayer benefit.

We are currently working to expand Woodbourne Park and are looking to develop the new Papakating Park into recreational areas that fulfill the needs of our families, sports programs and outdoor enthusiasts.

I am the best candidate for this position because I am already very involved in what is happening around Wantage. I have developed relationships with members of the municipal staff as well as various other volunteer members of other committees that will help make this an easy transition and allow me to hit the ground running.

Justin Vander Groef

I’m 39 years old and a lifelong resident of Wantage Township. I graduated from High Point Regional High School in 2001 and have been married to my wife, Chelsea, since 2006. Together we are raising our two daughters right here inWantage, our hometown.

I joined the Wantage Fire Department at age 16. I’m a fourth-generaon firefighter with my great-grandfather being the founding member of the fire department.

Through my hard work and dedicaon to serving the resident’s here in Wantage, I worked my way through the ranks and served as Wantage Township Chief from 2017 to 2018. I am now an active life member.

I have served on the Wantage Township Land Use Board and I am also the treasurer of the Ducks Unlimited Wallkill River chapter, which raises funds for wetlands conservation.

I am running for Wantage Township Committee because I want to keep things affordable for our residents and businesses.

I have strong conservative values and business experience. I work for a small business located right here in Wantage.

I have a few things I would like to accomplish. First, I would look over our township budget, keeping the taxpayers in mind. I would work with the various departments to look for ways to make upgrades and improvements and while doing so see if there are possible shared services with other towns.

I would work with our county commissioners and 24th District legislators to help cut as much red tape for existing businesses and help those that want to move here.

I will look into the needs of the township by working on a long-term capital improvement plan so our buildings, parks, roads, equipment and vehicles don’t fall into disrepair.

Lastly, I would like to revisit some of the ordinances on the books and see if some need to be reworded or eliminated to keep up with the changing times.

As your committeeman, I will maintain the level of services our residents expect in the most cost-effective ways possible.

I love living in Wantage Township, working here, and watching our kids play sports in our parks.

I respectfully ask for your vote on June 6.