Greg Lembrich was one of eight Maplewood residents who submitted letters of interest this past winter to be considered for endorsement by the Maplewood Democratic Committee in the June Primary Election for two seats on the Township Committee.
However, Lembrich was not chosen by the committee. Incumbent Township Committee member and former Mayor Jerry Ryan and Planning Board member Nancy Adams were chosen.
But that’s not stopping Lembrich.
Billing himself as “a new voice for Maplewood,” Lembrich was meeting voters and collecting signatures from between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. today on Maplewood Avenue in Maplewood Village. (March 30, 2015 is the Filing Deadline for Democratic and Republican Candidates wanting to run in the June 2, 2015 Primary Election. Candidates must file with the New Jersey Division of Elections.)
On his Facebook campaign page, Lembrich lists his top “key issue” as “take a second look at the proposed Post Office site development project.”
Other key issues include limiting PILOTs — or payments in lieu of taxes — to developers, working more closely with the school district, bringing greater transparency and accessibility to local government, exploring shared services, and championing sustainability.
Lembrich, who has been a Maplewood resident since 2007, is Associate General Counsel for New York Life Insurance Co. Lembrich is married with a four-year-old daughter.
Lembrich is being backed by former Maplewood Mayor Fred Profeta and former Township Committee member David Huemer, who are serving as his campaign co-chairs. Both Profeta and Huemer serve on the Maplewood Democratic Committee. Although Profeta and Huemer have had significant political differences in the past (one issue was the property revaluation in the early oughts), they are united in their support of Lembrich — and their opposition to the current proposed redevelopment of the Maplewood Post Office site in Maplewood Village.
On Lembrich’s Facebook campaign page, Profeta posted, “Greg is an outstanding candidate and I back him fully. We need youth on the Maplewood Township Committee, fresh ideas, creative intelligence, and a willingness to listen to public opinion. Greg embodies all of these qualities. His ideas for Maplewood are what we need now. Stay tuned and listen to what he has to say. You will be impressed.”
The Village Green caught up with Lembrich on Saturday evening and asked him what spurred him to run despite not being selected by the MDC:
“I was excited for the opportunity and glad to have the chance to present before the committee,” said Lembrich, who said that the process gave him a chance to meet a lot of new people who were involved in town. “In the process I became more excited to get involved.” After Ryan and Adams were selected, Lembrich said that a number of people from the MDC started reaching out to him to say, “We don’t think you should wait. We think we should have a vigorous primary. We want to support you.”
Lembrich says that he wants to represent a new generation of Maplewood residents. “My generation, people with kids in the school district — it’s great for them to have a bigger voice in town government. A lot of parents are disengaged, working and trying to get the kids to bed. I don’t think they are reaching out to those folks and getting them involved. I’d like to turn that around.”