Now that Halloween is over, it is time to move on to the next momentous fall event — and no, it’s not Thanksgiving. Election Day is officially here, falling on November 8th this year. Whether this is your first time voting or your twentieth time, it is always important to show up and vote — but it’s equally important to be informed about the different candidates on the local ballots so you know who you’re supporting. Luckily, we’ve covered everything you need to know about who is on the ballot in Montclair, New Jersey — including candidates vying for the 11th Congressional District as well as the 10th Congressional District. From these congressional elections, to the Board of Education, to a bond referendum, read on to learn more about what will be on the Montclair ballot this election.
Polls will be open from 6AM to 8PM on November 8th. To learn more and to find your polling place, click here.
P.S. The Montclair Girl is not endorsing or supporting any of the following candidates. Our goal is to provide you with the information and facts for you to be able to make informed voting choices.
House of Representatives
Since The New Jersey Congressional Redistricting Commission enacted a new congressional map on December 22, 2021, this year’s congressional election will look different. In previous years, Montclair was split on the congressional map, with sections of Montclair voting in 11th Congressional Districts and others in the 10th Congressional District.
With the new districts, the 11th Congressional District now includes a majority of Montclair, except for the Fourth Ward, which still remains in the 10th Congressional District.
Read More: In-Person Voting Locations in Montclair
11th Congressional District
Voters in the 11th Congressional District have a decision between three candidates to be their new representative: Mikie Sherill for Democrats, Paul DeGroot for Republicans, and formerly Joseph Biasco for Libertarians — though Biasco has pulled out of the race and endorsed DeGroot, per Patch.
Congresswoman Mikie Sherill – Democrat
Congresswoman Sherill is the incumbent for this election, as she has represented the 11th Congressional District for her two-year term.
On her campaign website, Sherill lists her stance on a variety of issues, including: jobs and economy, tax relief, and women’s rights, which were the top three listed. Here are a breakdown of these issues:
- Create more manufacturing jobs, Restore the SALT deduction, rebuild transportation infrastructure, invest in education and job training, support small businesses, and help working families re-enter the workforce.
- Tax Relief
- Believes the tax system should treat New Jersey residents fairly by requiring tax relief for the middle class, “invests in growth,” simplifies the tax code, and “maintains revenues.”
- “Continues to stand up against government overreach and defend reproductive freedom,” according to her campaign website.
- Voted for Women’s Health Protection Act, is working to federally codify Roe, and working to protect Title X, according to her website.
- “Continues to stand up against government overreach and defend reproductive freedom,” according to her campaign website.
Paul DeGroot – Republican
Sherill’s Republican opponent, Paul DeGroot, shares some similar views on abortion.
- Pro-choice, believes there should “always” be exceptions in the case of rape, incest, or mother’s health, and does believe parents should be involved in the conversation if a minor is making the decision.
- Parent’s Rights in Education
- Believes parents should be involved in curriculum decisions in public schools, “opposes indoctrinating our students with leftist ideology,” and wants to work with parents to make sure public schools teach valuable skills and not political propaganda.
- American Liberty + Freedom
- Opposes government and schools lockdowns, and opposed government edicts made during the pandemic that go against personal liberty.
10th Congressional District
In District 10, voters should expect to see five candidates on the ballot running to be their representative: Donald Payne Jr. for Democrats, David Pinckney for Republicans, Cynthia Johnson for Jobs and Justice, Kendal Ludden for Libertarians, and Clenard Childress Jr. for The Mahali Party.
Congressman Donald Payne Jr. — Democrat
Congressman Payne is seeking re-election for a seat in the House of Representatives. He has served in this position since 2012.
- Payne says he took actions to keep Americans safe and keep the economy afloat during the pandemic such as supporting stimulus checks and investing in testing and vaccines.
- Economy + Jobs
- According to his website, he is “committed to growing our economy, creating jobs, and fostering greater economic opportunities.”
- He believes that an economy must work for everyone and thus works to remove economic barriers and support American innovation.
- Civil Rights + Voting Rights
- Believes in expanding and protecting voting rights. He has supported legislation that expands voting rights and pushes back on tactics used to suppress voting rights.
David Pinckney – Republican
In comparison to other candidates, Republican candidate David Pinckney does not have a campaign website and not much information about his beliefs are shared online. However, he has been documented saying that he is pro-choice and is a strong environmentalist.
“I’m very conservative but am pro-choice. My slogan is ‘Try God’s way for a change’ because I don’t think anyone is doing that. I also believe in focusing on the environment. We really have to start taking care of this planet now,” Pinckney said to northjersey.com.
Cynthia Johnson – Independent for the Jobs + Equal Rights for All Campaign Platform
Cynthia Johnson is running as an independent candidate for the Jobs and Equal Rights for All Campaign Platform. Although Johnson has a campaign website, her issues and beliefs are not listed.
She is advocating for safe and affordable housing for all. Her campaign is based on providing affordable housing, good jobs, free healthcare, free college, free transportation, and clean energy. She wants these ideas funded through making billionaires pay and “ending the war machine,” according to Insider NJ.
Kendal Luden – Libertarian
Kendal Luden is running as a Libertarian. Although he has no campaign website and there is no information about his beliefs online, since he is running as a Libertarian, it’s fair to assume his beliefs likely mostly align with the party’s.
The New Jersey Libretarian Party believes individuals should control their own lives. “The world we seek is one where individuals are free to achieve their goals using their own judgments, without interference from government,” according to the New Jersey Libertarian Website.
More information about specific issues based on this ideology can be found on their website.
Rev. Clenard J. Childress Jr. — Mahali Party
Rev. Clenard J. Childress Jr. is running under the slogan, “Mahali Party”. He does not have a campaign website and no information is online regarding his beliefs.
Although there is no campaign website, there is a website for the Mahali Party. On the website, the party lists a variety of its beliefs, including reparations. The party believes in attaining reparations and created their own party to gain reparations because both parties have not achieved this.
Essex County Executive
Incumbent Joseph N. DiVincenzo Jr. is seeking re-election for county executive against Adam Kraemer. DiVincenzo is a Democrat who has served in the position for 20 years, and Adam Kraemer is a Republican who has served in various offices, including state senator and county freeholder.
Although neither candidate has a campaign website, information about the candidates can be found online. DiVincenzo says his first priority will be the budget challenges the county deals with every year. He also plans to “revitalize the county’s historic parks system, modernize the infrastructure and deliver services to assist the most vulnerable residents,” according to New Jersey Hills.
For Kraemer, his first priority would be ensuring contracts for sheriff and corrections officers. He also wants to reform the Department of Family Benefits and create a unified 911 system.
The Montclair Board of Education unanimously passed a resolution in September for voter approval of a $187 million proposal to better the Montclair schools. The money would be used on all of the Montclair schools, Woodman Field, Montclair Community Pre-K, and the administrative building.
The state of New Jersey will assist in paying by providing $58 million and the town will be responsible for the $129.7M. The town plans to pay each bond over a 20-year period, meaning the payments will be completed by 2047. Read more about the referendum and what this means for you: The Montclair Bond Referendum: What to Know.
Board of Education
Four candidates are running for three seats on the Montclair Board of Education. Yvonne W. Bouknight, Brian Fleischer, Monk Inyang, and Noah Gale are the four candidates.
Inyang currently serves on the board and his seat is one of the seats up for election. The board chose Inyan in January to fill the seat of Dr. Alfred Davis Jr. after he passed away.
Per Montclair Local, if re-elected, his top priorities are:
- Improving communications between the district and the Montclair community.
- Expanding the use of restorative justice in schools to improve the culture.
- Improving the budgeting process and planning.
Inyang served on the Finance committee and worked with Montclair public school faculty to create the upcoming 2022 bond referendum.
All four candidates support the bond referendum.
Noah Gale is a junior at Montclair State University, graduated from Montclair High School, and frequently attends board meetings. He is running for one of the seats.
He believes more money should be allocated to “protect special education.” Gale was unable to attend the forum in October but wrote a statement that was shared in the beginning, expressing his ideas and background.
“I believe that we need more special education professionals and need to make sure that they all get the health benefits that they deserve,” Gale said in the statement. “I also think we need early screening of children by special education evaluators so that intervention can begin when students are as young as possible.”
Yvonne W. Bouknight
Although Yvonne W. Bouknight does not have a campaign website (similar to Gale and Inyang), her ideas were expressed during the forum as well.
Bouknight expressed during the forum that safety in school buildings is important for students’ success and believes the district should provide safety nets for faculty and students by working with community partners both in and outside of school following the pandemic.
“I think it’s important that we just not think that it’s going to disappear or it’s going to get better, but provide the resources and the opportunities to get children and teachers and parents back on track,” Bouknight said during the forum. “Healthy minds bring about healthy children and healthy children and minds have healthy parents which make a healthy community.”
Brian Fleischer is also running for one of the seats, and on his campaign website, he list his top issues as: “Governance, Strategic Planning, Management Reporting and Accountability,” “Facilities, Infrastructure and the ‘Community Investment Plan’,” and “The Magnet System, Courtesy Busing, and the School Placement Process.” These issues are the top three listed.
Governance, Strategic Planning, Management Reporting, + Accountability
- Wants sound governance and policy oversight by the Board.
- Communication between the board and the community.
- Says the district needs more sustained strategic planning to meet the needs of all students in the district.
- Wants enhanced planning, execution, monitoring, evaluation, and management reporting.
- Wants budget conversations to happen earlier in the year.
Facilities, Infrastructure, + the “Community Investment Plan”
- Wants better infrastructure and facilities for schools.
- Supports the “Community Investment Plan.”
- If the referendum is passed, wants the board to effectively execute the projects by having better communication between all stakeholders and making sure all projects are completed on time.
The Magnet System, Courtesy Busing, + the School Placement Process
- Does not support the elimination of Montclair’s magnet system or of the courtesy busing program it depends on.
- Believes the magnet system should be analyzed, such as a demographic study, because of “creeping re-segregation” in schools.