My name is Dan Keelan, I live in Hamilton Twp (Mercer) and I am running on the Democratic Ticket for Township Council.
Though I have closely followed international, national and local politics my entire life (not just my adult life), this is my first foray into politics.
I moved to Hamilton Township 7 years ago when I married my wife, a lifelong Hamilton resident.
In fact, when I proposed to my wife she said to me (almost as an after thought) “I am never moving out of Hamilton Twp!”. She was adamant.
Now some people may consider that “pre-condition” limiting and I admit that thoughts of never living in Ireland or retiring to Costa Rica flitted across my brain. But I was in love – I am in love. And 7 years later I can say that I did get a good bargain – my wife and Hamilton Twp.
My background is Sales and Marketing in the IT world. I worked for very small companies to a very large Fortune 1000 company. In the small companies, I worked with great people who were equally determined to succeed as I was and we turned these smaller companies into mid-sized employers of 100 or more people. It was tough, it was nerve wracking and it was satisfying. I got to work with a Fortune 1000 company because one of the small companies that I helped to start was acquired by them. I ran the Account Development division in the Mid-Atlantic for them, which consisted of about 22 employees and 2 managers who reported to me and had $300 million in revenue. If you want to test your mettle with politics go work for a Fortune 1000 company 🙂
I became tired of the large corporate world and took an opportunity to leave when they asked me to transfer. Today, I am on my own working to start my own company – Consulting on Energy, Solar and Telecommunications.
WHY I AM RUNNING
Despite my lifelong interest in politics and current events, I never thought that I would actually get engaged in the process as a candidate, but something motivated me. Something triggered and now here I am.
I know what the something is, but it only crystallized shortly after my sister-in-law was asked to run for Mayor as the Democratic Party’s nominee.
Location, Location, Location – wasted
Hamilton Township is essentially in the middle of NJ with excellent Interstate & Turnpike access. It has quick access to Newark’s and Philadelphia’s airports, is right on the Northeast train corridor and is convenient to NYC and the shore areas.
Despite this, Hamilton is fairing no better than other towns in NJ and this is because of the “same ‘ole same ‘ole” approach to governance from the incumbents.
Reckless and Unnecessary Tax Hike
Additionally, they are damaging the local economy by driving businesses and residents out of the township due to a reckless and unnecessary 33% tax hike in 2008. They justify this by alluding to a “historical fiscal crisis” which they have never satisfactorially defined.
They promised to do more with less, but their reckless tax hike has allowed them to raise spending by $30 million while at the same time laying off and furloughing Police Officers and other Township employees.
In March 2010 they furloughed the police department 8 days annually and then in June 2010 they gave Department Directors pay raises.
They hide crime from the residents by not reporting it to the local papers, while paying lip serive to the concept of Community Policing. Many Hamiltonians believe that they live in a safe community…they do not know about the Drive-by shooting, the Home Invasiions, the Armed Robberies, the assaults all because the incumbants do not want to hurt the economy or give the Township a bad name. This is disrespectful to the residents and to the Police Officers who competently servie us.
The Mayor and all 5 Council members are republicans who reside in a Democratic controlled County and LD. It is the municipal government that allows political affiliation to get in the way of partnering with their County and State leadership for assistance with funding/grants, implementing Complete Streets or Main Street programs, etc.
They have little concept about proven redevelopment strategies that have been successfully deployed around the State and the country. Concepts such as Mixed Use Zoning, Complete Streets and Main Streets. They have made PILOT a dirty word – and it can be when not properly implemented, which means specific conditions applied to specific areas and types of business.
While neighboring municipalities such as Hightstown, Exing, Hopewell and Lawrence are reinventinf themselves, my town is dying and my opponents are making sure that no one is here to bare witness the funneral.
I have stayed educated on redevelopment strategies, Police Technology, the Township Budget and the concerns of the various neighborhoods. I am prepared to serve.
PS: Full disclosure. Until this spring, I was a registered Republican and supported the existing Republican Mayor and Township Council.
I was content with supporting them until I started educating myself in anticipation of supporting them this election year. In doing so, I could not reconcile what they have been doing with my belief system.