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: Theodore (Teddy) Marcus Liddell
Political Party: Republican
Years of Residency in Gloucester Township: 1+
Job: Associate Manager, Novo Nordisk Inc., 4+ years
Education: 2006 - Juris Doctorate (J.D.) - St. Louis University School of Law, St. Louis, MO
2002 - Masters in Business Administration (M.B.A.) - Columbia College, Columbia, MO
1990 - Bachelor of Science (B.S., Individual Psychology) - United States Military Academy, West Point, NY
Family: Wife, Relesha (married Dec. 23, 1995), and 4 children: 3 sons, 1 daughter, ages 14, 12, 8, and 4. They attend public schools in Gloucester Township.
Why are you running for Gloucester Township Council?
There are many needs in our township, and I believe I will make a positive difference as a councilman. Serving my community and my country has always been a very important part of my life. It is the hallmark of true leadership. Whether it's collecting donations while in high school for a children's hospital to care for chronically ill children, becoming a Special Olympics volunteer as a cadet at West Point, serving my country on active duty as a U.S. Army officer for almost six years, or being a mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters, I have learned that serving people can impact all our lives for the better. In these tough economic times, taxpayers and small business owners in our township need leaders who are truly servants.
Have you ever held public office?
No, but I served our country with honorable service as an officer (captain) in the U.S. Army.
Why do you feel you are qualified to serve as a member of the Gloucester Township Council?
I have a variety of life experiences that prepare me well for service as a member of Council. While a cadet at West Point, I learned and practiced the lessons of leadership—an invaluable quality that all governing bodies need. As a platoon leader and operations officer in the military, I planned and led training for hundreds of soldiers to ensure their welfare while safekeeping millions of dollars worth of military equipment and vehicles. In business, I have had a successful 13-year career in sales within the pharmaceutical industry. As an attorney, I have done pro-bono work and helped clients with cases in the areas of bankruptcy, real estate, employment, and small claims. As a small business owner of a solo bankruptcy law practice, I have tackled the unique challenges of business ownership. In my current position, I help to ensure compliance with FDA and health-care industry regulations. Moreover, I regularly mentor and inspire high school youth to set high aspirations and show them the life skills needed to achieve them. I am passionate about helping people in our community live better lives.
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?
Getting an appropriate pay-to-play ban ordinance passed is the biggest issue. Every taxpayer needs to know that his/her tax dollars are being spent appropriately, wisely, and honestly—without the influence of political contributions. Every small business owner needs to know that he/she is competing fairly for available township contracts. Every politician needs to be free from the temptation of abusing taxpayer dollars through play-to-pay. The Gloucester Township Council should not continue to allow the potential for township contracts to be used as bait for campaign contributions. Although this practice has been common in the past, with tens of thousands of dollars being paid by professional contract recipients, it is still unfair. This is a moral issue that should be acted upon immediately.
What do you feel is Gloucester Township's biggest asset at this time? How would you exploit that asset to the township's benefit?
I believe that diversity is Gloucester Township's biggest asset. The important thing is to ensure that everyone in our community has an opportunity to voice their opinions. Over a year ago while searching for a home, my family and I chose Gloucester Township because it presented many opportunities—both professionally and recreationally. Yet, during the same period, I have also seen four businesses close: Charlie Brown's, Denny's, Dollar Tree, and Ace Hardware and no progress on the proposed baseball field. I would seek to open up communications with small business owners and residential community representatives. Furthermore, I would listen to their needs and include their creative, new ideas in formulating plans for future township projects. I believe that the best of Gloucester Township is within our grasp.
How do you plan to balance spending and revenue during tough economic times?
These are very difficult economic times. Just like families in our township must strive to make ends meet, so must our government. However, I believe our government can do more in preparing, prioritizing, and planning to help our families and businesses. We can better prepare small business owners to prevent closure of their ventures. We can prioritize how the township spends taxpayer dollars and appropriately sequence agreed upon important projects. We can develop feasible payment plans to better anticipate the township's foreseeable debts. We can take action on new ideas for securing our businesses, creating jobs, preventing foreclosures, and lessening the tax burden.
Do you feel the current Council is effective? Why or why not? Where do you think the governing body could improve?
No. These are some serious times which require serious leaders. First, respect among the Council's members is needed. Regardless of the opinions raised and questions asked, each member should treat every other member with the highest regard—whether present or absent. Taxpayers deserve a respectful governing body. This will allow for productive compromise. Second, a lack of responsiveness from the Council exists. Revealing where each council member stands on proposed issues such as the pay-to-play ban and the County-wide police force is essential to keep our township residents informed and engaged in the decision-making process. Real transparency is also needed, and therefore I support putting Council meetings on TV. Not taking a stand on these very important issues prolongs the uncertainty within our community about openness, fairness, and security. Serious leaders listen, show respect, and are responsive to resolve problems. This is something I was trained for.
Editor's Notes: This is the fourth of nine profiles on candidates for Gloucester Township Council. Glen Bianchini's profile and Samuel Garro's profile ran Monday, and Darren Gladden's profile Tuesday morning. The following is the schedule of publication for the remaining five candidates: Democrat incumbent Orlando Mercado (6 a.m.) and Republican candidate Linda Musser (noon) on Wednesday; Democrat candidates Sam Siler (6 a.m.) and Tracey Trotto (noon) on Thursday; and Republican candidate Erica Weissmann (6 a.m.) on Friday.
Aside from minor formatting changes, the responses each candidate provided to the above questions appear here unaltered.