In a joint statement, Councilwoman Astri Baillie of East Lane and former Board of Education member Debra Coen of Hoyt Street announce their plans to run as a team for election to the Madison Borough Council in 2018. Councilman Ben Wolkowitz recently announced he will not be seeking re-election, and Ms. Coen will be running to take his seat on Council.
The candidates stated, “We both care deeply for Madison, a town that offers so much with its wonderful people, beautiful downtown, and terrific amenities. This is indeed a great place to live, and for many years, we have both volunteered our time and effort to make its government and schools, respectively, the best they can be. We believe that together, we can bring the skills, experience, creative ideas, and approach to governing that Madison’s residents want and have come to expect.”
Councilwoman Astri Baillie stated, “I am excited to be running for re-election with Debra Coen. For the past three years, Debra served the community as a member of the Board of Education. While on the Board, she served on the Board’s Curriculum Council and the Buildings and Grounds Committee, and for the past two years, she served as its Chair. Her experience and dedication to public service will be real assets to the Council and will help us to continue to provide great service to our residents.
The Borough’s budgets are well under control; borough services have been improved; and millions of dollars have been invested in our roads, sewers and utility infrastructures on a pay-as-you-go basis. Public safety and DPW employees are also receiving the modern equipment they need to efficiently serve the community. Looking forward, we expect to see a minimal increase in the municipal tax rate of less than 1% this year, and the Borough will again be returning $1.5 million from the electric utility surplus to our ratepayers in the form of a monthly credit on their electric bills.”
Debra Coen stated, “I am honored to be asked to run with Astri this year. Her many volunteer contributions to Madison are known by all in the community. Astri and her colleagues on Council have given us many years of fiscally responsible government. I look forward to working with them to ensure that borough services remain among the best in the state. Just last month, many residents in communities near Madison found themselves without power for several days following the March 7 nor’easter, while those Madison residents who did lose power, were restored quickly and efficiently by our great electric utility and DPW workers.
Councilwoman Astri Baillie is a life-long Madison resident. She is currently completing her fifth term on borough council and has over thirty years of experience in municipal government.
Like Astri Baillie, Debra Coen is a graduate of Drew University. She has a Masters Degree in Technology Education from Montclair State University and holds several teaching certifications, including her most recent in special education from Rowan University. Coen has been a teacher in the West Orange school system for over 17 years and has received numerous awards for her teaching. Recent awards include the NJTEEA Integrative Teacher and the NJSBA Innovative Special Education Award for Adaptive iSTEM in 2016 and the NJTEEA Impact award in 2015.
Baillie and Coen concluded, “As a team, we will bring a solid record of success in education and government to the Council, and we will work together with our colleagues on Council and in the community to continue to deliver dependable services in a fiscally responsible manner. We look forward to meeting with Madison voters during the campaign season and listening to their concerns. There is still much good work to be done.”