This article was originally published on June 30, 2020, at The Patch.
Garwood’s general election on November 3 has four candidates running for two open three-year seats on the Borough Council. Vincent Kearney, 44, is one of two Democratic candidates running.
Kearney has worked as a Union County Sheriff’s Officer since 2016. He also was a prior law enforcement officer and 9-1-1 dispatcher from 1996 to 2016.
Kearney is married to his wife, Veronica with twin boys Vincent and Anthony, both 7 years old.
He graduated from Oratory Prep in 1994, attended Fairleigh Dickinson University – Madison for one year. Graduated from John H. Stamler Police Academy.
“I take pride in my ability to get things done. With my professional background in law enforcement, I am able to work well with others who have varying opinions and backgrounds while working within a defined structure.”
Why are you seeking an elective office?
I am running for the Borough Council because being of service to those around me and my community is in my blood. My late father was a police officer and my mother has been a tireless advocate for many causes in her life. These examples have guided my path to this point. I am first and foremost a father and a husband. There is no bigger role to fill than parenthood for me; so I hope to inspire my own sons the way my father did for me, by serving others in our community and on our Council.
The single most pressing issue facing our community is _______, and this is what I intend to do about it.
Small business resiliency. We must ensure we support our local small business to succeed even with the uncertain future state of retail. Garwood has ramped up this support since the coronavirus caused so many disruptions, using it’s traditional and social media channels to promote local businesses through the “Shop Local 2020” initiative. Shop Local has included promotions of Garwood businesses that remained open or modified services (such as local restaurants changing to take out or outside dining) with many appearances by Mayor Todisco as well. The Borough is also running a program to assist local business owners in setting up online gift cards. I would look to continue this support and build upon it to ensure we have a thriving small business community for the future.
What are the critical differences between you and the other candidates seeking this post?
I take pride in my ability to get things done. With my professional background in law enforcement, I am able to work well with others who have varying opinions and backgrounds while working within a defined structure. I can turn criticism from the public into a constructive process rather than a negative one. As a proponent of transparency in and access to, local government, I will continue the improvements made in the civility, openness, and responsiveness of the Borough Council over the last few years.
Describe the other issues that define your campaign platform
Increasing attention to communications and alternate ways of doing business between our local government and the residents and business owners in town is a top priority. The coronavirus pandemic has shown the importance of online communications as well as the need to be able to transact business normally done at Borough Hall in a digital format. I will also advocate for increased attention to public safety, both generally throughout the Borough and specifically regarding pedestrian safety and other types of careless driving on our residential streets.
What accomplishments in your past would you cite as evidence you can handle this job?
My experience working at various levels of responsibility and in many roles during my years in law enforcement includes investigative work, instructing at the police academy, managing both technology and people, working with budgets, as well as traditional patrol functions. My co-founding of Garwood LIVE assisted in bringing the business of local government closer to the people. Through my dedication to the Garwood LIVE project, I have learned a lot about how the Council operates after attending nearly every meeting over the last two years. I have also served as a volunteer on the Garwood Celebrations Committee and for the Mayor’s Wellness Campaign. I assist in the yearly organizing of Garwood Rocks, working on the street layout and social media promotion, while also serving as the event MC.
The best advice ever shared with me was:
Have the courage of your convictions, but always keep your mind open to other points of view and new ways of doing things.
What else would you like voters to know about yourself and your positions?
Out of all the titles I have held or sought, “dad” is the greatest title I could ever hold. I care very much for the future of my sons, teaching them right from wrong, how to love, and how to help our community. I hope to lead my boys using my own examples as a police officer and the various volunteer work I have done over my life. My job and the volunteer work are labors of love, contributing to making a strong community which leads to strong families within it.