Democratic Candidates Announce Campaign Kick-off Picnic


MADISON – Candidates for Madison Borough Council, Astri Baillie and Debra Coen and the Madison Democratic Committee invite the public to their Annual Campaign Kick-off Picnic to be held on Sunday, September 16 from 1:30 to 4 PM at the home of Marianne McConnell at 142 Ridgedale Avenue.

The candidates stated, “We look forward to officially kicking-off our campaign for Borough Council at the picnic. Our hope is that many voters – supporters and/or those who just want to learn more about the campaign – will join us for friendly political conversations along with some good food and drink.”

Although 2018 is not a presidential election year, at least one observer has described it as “maybe the most important elections in a lifetime,” certainly it is the most important midterm election in recent memory. In New Jersey, Senator Bob Menendez is running for re-election and in the state’s 11th Congressional District, which includes Madison, candidate Mikie Sherrill has a chance to be the first Democrat to represent the district in over 40 years. Sherrill is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy who has served her country as a Navy Sea King helicopter pilot and as an Outreach and Re-entry Coordinator and Assistant Prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Jersey.

Candidates Baillie and Coen stated, “Unfortunately, Mikie Sherrill has a known conflict and is not likely to attend the picnic. However, we do expect Madison Mayor Bob Conley and Madison Borough Council members, Ben Wolkowitz, Carmela Vitale, Maureen Byrne, and John Hoover as well as our State Assembly Representatives, John McKeon and Mila Jasey to attend. We have also invited our state senator, Governor Dick Codey, and the Democratic candidates for Morris County Freeholder, Mary Dougherty, Richard Corcoran, and Rupande Mehta and the Democratic candidate for Morris County Clerk, Shala Gagliardi.”

The picnic is being coordinated by Councilwoman Carmela Vitale and former Morris County Democratic Committee Vice-Chairwoman, Marianne McConnell. “A suggested donation of $25 per person or $40 per couple is requested of attendees,” stated Ms. McConnell. “Donations can be made online at, at the door, or they can be sent to Mike Hilgendorff, Treasurer, 16 Carteret Ct., Madison N.J. 07940. Checks are preferable to cash and should be made out to: Madison Democratic Committee“.

Madison Democratic Committee Chair Missy Elias noted that “Both of our candidates for Borough Council are experienced in municipal affairs and understand the workings of borough government and both have demonstrated their commitment to the community.

Councilwoman Astri Baillie is a life-long Madison resident. She is currently completing her fifth term on the Madison Borough Council and has over thirty years of experience in municipal government. Prior to her election to Council, Baillie served fourteen years on the Madison Zoning Board, of Adjustment, including four years as chairperson. She has also served as a member of the Environmental Commission and is currently in her fifteenth year on the Madison Planning Board.

For the past three years Debra Coen had served the community as a member of the Madison Board of Education. Prior to that to joining the Board, Debra was active in the Parent Teachers Organization (PTO) of the Central Avenue School, where she served as a Class Coordinator for two years and was Second Vice President of the PTO. Ms. Coen was also a parent participant on the Madison Public Schools Technology Advisory Committee and was a board member of the Madison Soccer Club, serving as its registrar and treasurer.”

Marianne McConnell concluded, “All Madison friends and residents are invited to come and meet our candidates for Madison Borough Council, Astri Baillie and Debra Coen, as well as Mayor Bob Conley and Council members Carmela Vitale, Ben Wolkowitz, Maureen Byrne, and John Hoover, our representatives in Trenton, Dick Codey John McKeon and Mila jasey and the Democratic candidates for Morris County Freeholder and County Clerk at our kick-off picnic on Sunday, September 16th from 1:30 to 4 PM at 142 Ridgedale Avenue. Please do come and join us!”