On Nov. 8, residents will have the opportunity to go to the polls to vote for four members of Gloucester Township Council. Gloucester Township Patch will share information and some of the thoughts of the nine candidates seeking four Council seats throughout the week of Oct. 9.
Name: Erica Weissmann
Political Party: Republican
Years of residency in Gloucester Twp.: 2
Job: Communications and Marketing Director at The Union League of Philadelphia, 4 years 2 months
Education: Bachelor of Arts in Communications with a concentration in Journalism and Public Relations, Minors in English and Psychology — Salisbury University (MD)
Family: Engaged to Michael Martin; one stepdaughter
Why are you running for Gloucester Township Council?
I am running for Gloucester Township Council because I know I can improve our community. It’s time to be proud of our town. Along with my fellow Republican candidates, I know we can restore pride through respect and open communication with the residents. The residents deserve better and I promise to deliver better. In my two years as a property owner, tax payer and resident, I see a need to improve the way business is conducted within GT. When I see a problem I want to fix it. I see problems and I am here to fix them. I have an incredible work ethic and undeniable passion. I’m focused and committed to making Gloucester Township the best it can be.
Have you ever held public office?
Why do you feel you are qualified to serve as a member of the Gloucester Township Council?
As the Communications and Marketing Director of a five-star Platinum Club of America, ranked fifth in the nation, I have a very important and demanding job. I multi-task and manage major projects and deadlines daily, and I am a great problem solver. I think rationally and logically and approach problems with an open mind with focus and determination. Along with my studies in psychology I understand how to effectively communicate and reach people. I am financially responsible. I take great pride in my work and have a deep rooted set of strong morals and values. I will bring this same skill set to my role as a member of Council.
What is the biggest issue facing Gloucester Township as we approach the end of 2011? How do you feel the issue should be addressed by Council?
I believe one of the biggest issues currently facing Gloucester Township is the lack of balance in government. All seven members of Council and the mayor are all Democrats. There is no system in place for checks and balances. One party in complete control is not a good representation of the people of GT. Several current Council members have served multiple terms. My fellow Republican candidates and I believe that term limits should be put in place so we have good representation in our elected officials and end career politicians from running GT. I love my job and I plan to stay with the Union League for a very long time—I do not want to be a career politician and I am not interested in other employment for myself or for my family or friends as a result of becoming a Councilwoman. Additionally, I oppose the proposed countywide police force as it is in no way in the best interest of Gloucester Township residents. It is imperative that we ensure the safety of our residents and police officers by keeping them in GT.
What do you feel is Gloucester Township's biggest asset at this time? How would you exploit that asset to the township's benefit?
The biggest asset we have in Gloucester Township is our residents. We have a diverse group of people who make up our almost 65,000 residents. I’ve met so many people from different walks of life, with different backgrounds, levels of education, etc., but there is one commonality everyone shares—a genuine concern in these tough economic times and an expectation of good, honest, and open government. I think it is crucial that we make the concerned residents a part of the effort to make GT the best it can be. We need to make our government more transparent and we need to make communication a priority. All Council meetings should be televised—the people of GT have a right to see their elected officials. Televising meetings will encourage more residents to get involved. By giving the people the information and encouraging them to ask tough questions it keeps government officials honest.
How do you plan to balance spending and revenue during tough economic times?
I would balance spending and revenue in GT just as I balance my own personal accounts. I have a strict budget and I stick to it. I will not spend more than I make and I believe in saving for tomorrow. Tough economic times, or not, I do not, and will not, spend in excess of my allocated funds. It’s all about being organized and sticking to the plan. My plan works well. At 25 years old I purchased my first home and live debt free, with the exception of a small student loan. Save and spend responsibly. I do—it works.
Do you feel the current Council is effective? Why or why not? Where do you think the governing body could improve?
I believe current Council has a lot of room for improvement. I believe the negative interactions that occur frequently are unprofessional and inappropriate. On multiple occasions members of Council have verbally attacked each other. It is embarrassing that our elected officials act that way. Additionally, it is the right of the residents to address Council with questions, concerns and ideas. I believe some current Council members need a reminder that they should be respectful to the residents. Council often fails to give straight answers and, instead, offers evasive comments with the hopes that issues will disappear, thus insulting the intelligence and will of our residents. Open and respectful communication is imperative—I don’t believe that currently exists. If elected, I pledge that every resident will be treated with the respect they deserve.
Editor's Notes: This is the last of nine profiles on candidates for Gloucester Township Council. Glen Bianchini's profile and Samuel Garro's profile ran Monday, Darren Gladden's profile and Theodore Liddell's profile on Tuesday, Orlando Mercado's profile and Linda Musser's profile on Wednesday, and Sam Siler's profile and Tracey Trotto's profile on Thursday.
Aside from minor formatting changes, the responses each candidate provided to the above questions appear here unaltered.