In his first run for public office, Jordan Bernstein of Flanders plans to use his management skills to listen to residents’ concerns and work hard to foster innovation and growth.
The 39-year old ITAM professional, husband and father of three is running for a four-year term on the Mt. Olive Twp. Council. Bernstein, one of four Democrats vying to fill four seats, faces four Republican incumbents whose terms expire at the end of this year.
The countdown is here to cast votes for leaders to represent the council as well as the Mt. Olive Board of Education. The 2021 General Election is this Tuesday, Nov. 2, and with both races quite competitive with numerous candidates running, readers should learn about each candidate so they can choose wisely when they go to the polls.
Mt. Olive Online has spent the past four weeks featuring new candidates so without further ado: Meet Jordan Bernstein this week!
A Leader Hears His Call For Duty
After five years of living in Mt. Olive, Bernstein hears his calling to run for an office.
“I have not volunteered or served on any board or committee,” he says. “This is my first foray into public service.
“I only recently joined the Mt. Olive Democrats after the 2020 election,” he says. “Once I was able to stop thinking about national issues I wanted to start focusing on local ones.”
He says when he joined the Mt. Olive Democrats, it was “before agreeing to run for Town Council.
“I was scrolling through Instagram when I saw a post by the Mt. Olive Democrats looking for people interested in running for Town Council,” explains Bernstein. “I thought that if I wanted to make a change beyond signing petitions, starting with my own neighborhood was a great place to start.”
One must act to help make change, he says.
“If you want to make a change you need to be in the room where it happens,” says Bernstein. “I want to give a voice to those who feel that they are not being heard or represented in our current Town Council. I believe in leaving the world better than how you found it and I feel this is an opportunity to do that.”
As a resident of Flanders since 2016, Bernstein was born and raised in Brooklyn for his first dozen years. New Jersey’s rural landscape and great schools have grown on him over the years.
“When I moved to N.J., I was enamored with all the greenery,” says Bernstein. “Being up here in Mt. Olive with all the parks, trees, wildlife, etc. it’s just so refreshing. The school system is great; I spend a lot of time in the library with my wife and daughters but the thing that keeps getting me is just how beautiful and peaceful it is here.”
Bernstein and his wife, Lauren Mariano, have three young daughters: Olivia, 8; Alexa, 5; and Eliza, 2. Their two eldest attend Mountain View Elementary School.
His wife is a registered nurse for Atlantic Corporate Health and also works as a substitute school nurse for the Mt. Olive School District and Mt. Olive Public Health Department.
Bernstein received a bachelor’s in English from Rutgers University in 2004, and has worked in IT Asset Management, also known as ITAM, Department at SHI International Corp.
“My official title is ITAM Named Accounts Manager and I’m responsible for a team of individuals dedicated to providing our ITAM services to our larger customers,” explains Bernstein. He has been employed at SHI for 15 years and as a manager in the ITAM department since 2012.
Bernstein hopes to utilize those skills if elected to council.
“I’ve been a leader and a manager at my company for over nine years,” says Bernstein. “My primary focus has been to ensure that my people are in the best position to succeed so they may deliver world class service to our customers. Successful managers must be reliable, provide support and listen to their employees. I believe these qualities translate to the functions of someone looking to represent their friends and neighbors in public office.”
Why do you want to serve on the Mt. Olive Council?
“I’d love to make local government more accessible to everyone, to proactively educate citizens, encourage citizen involvement and make it easier to be involved,” says Bernstein. “Regular town forums would encourage citizen involvement, and ensuring that council meetings are always available via Zoom even after Town Hall is open to the public, would help make citizen involvement even easier.”
What are your criticisms, if any, of the current Mt. Olive Council?
“I believe that the current Town Council has become complacent,” says Bernstein. “Mt. Olive has had the same leadership in place for many years now. Town Council races have been rote, with those up for re-election going through the motions under the understanding that they’re going to be re-elected. With no fear of losing their position, the current council just goes through the motions keeping things primarily the way they are with no innovation or growth.
Bernstein brings new eyes and new ideas to the council.
“In much the same way that in school you’d have someone read over a paper you wrote before handing it in, a fresh set of eyes can see things others can’t,” says Bernstein. “I believe bringing new people on to the Town Council can reinvigorate things. New ideas and fresh perspective to move us towards the future.”
What are the most concerning issues and how would you address them?
“Safety for me is always first and foremost,” says Bernstein. “I live in the Clover Hill area of Flanders and I see the way cars fly down the road. We have a lot of kids in the neighborhood and all it takes is one swerve of a bike or a ball rolling into the street being chased after for a tragic accident to happen.
“Concerning issues for Mt. Olive residents change based on who you speak with,” continues Bernstein. “For those who live on Main Street they’re concerned that the town wants to turn their street into a Chester like hub and they’re not happy about proposed development. Those living in Clover Hill, like myself, are unhappy with the speeding they see. For those in apartment complexes they feel like they don’t matter and that they’re not being heard.”
Being a good listener and having the desire to help is Bernstein’s plan with addressing community concerns.
“The most immediate way to improve the issues I listed would be to listen to the people,” says Bernstein. “It all comes down to listening to the concerns and worries of the people of Mt. Olive. I can’t pretend that I have all the answers or that every issue or concern can be alleviated but I can listen and I can do my best to help.”
- Revitalizing Mt. Olive: “We value a balanced budget and proactive economic development,” says Bernstein. “Vote Mt. Olive will put local business above commercialization and develop the town with people, not big companies, in mind. We believe we can re-invigorate the township’s economy without taking on large amounts of debt. We will get involved, working with landlords, business-owners, and townspeople to bring jobs and businesses to our township. Through hard work, we will develop the township and breathe life back into Mt. Olive’s economy."
- Involving the Community: “Right now, decisions are made without sufficient public input or discussion which makes what they’re working on difficult to understand,” says Bernstein. “When developing our town, the residents need to be involved. We believe that there should be mandatory releases of information on all big development projects plus straightforward ways for townspeople to give input. We will get involved in the community, putting the people of Mt. Olive front and center in the political process.”
- Equity & Inclusion: "We value compromise and understanding,” says Bernstein. “All of our neighbor’s voices matter. Vote Mt. Olive will listen to every resident, no matter their race, ability, political affiliation, religion, gender, sexuality, or economic status to find solutions the whole town can be proud of. Vote Mt. Olive knows that we can only be united when we respect and celebrate what makes each of us unique.”
- An Ethical Town Council: "As your Town Council candidates, we’ve taken a pledge not only to abide by the town’s Pay to Play laws but to make it even easier to find the financial disclosures of your representatives,” says Bernstein. “Residents should always know whose money their government is accepting, and it is not acceptable that up until now it has been a difficult and time-consuming process to look into the Town Government’s disclosures. Ethics starts with accountability!”
Words He Lives By
“There are two quotes for me that I’ve adopted as my own personal mantras,” says Bernstein.
The first is by James Baldwin: “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”
The second is from Frozen II, “Just do the next right thing.”
Party Majority Wont Steer Bernstein Away
“I would do nothing different if I was the only Democrat or if I was in a Town Council surrounded by other Democrats,” says Bernstein. “I would work to ensure we always did the right thing for all the residents of Mt. Olive. If I happened to be the lone Democrat I probably would be required to be a bit more vocal and try to find any possible areas to find a way to compromise with those who may not align with me on all issues.”
Why Vote For Bernstein?
“I’m running to give a voice for those who feel like they do not have one in local government,” says Bernstein. “I’m running because I believe we need people in local government that have the health, safety, and best interests of Mt. Olive residents at heart. I cannot promise you that I will always be able to fix an issue you may have, but I will always work hard for you.”
Concludes Bernstein: “This whole experience has been very new and exciting for me. I’ve enjoyed getting to meet so many of my neighbors as I’ve walked around Mt. Olive canvassing and sitting at Mt. Olive Democrat booths at various town functions. I would love to be able to represent you all as a member of the Town Council. Win or lose I will continue to try and “just do the next right thing.”
This is a paid advertisement by Mt. Olive Democrats.