There will be a new face on Robbinsville council after newcomer Mike Cipriano earned victory in the Nov. 7 election.
Cipriano came one tally shy of leading vote-getter Vince Calcagno in the race for two seats on council. Incumbent Sheree McGowan finished third with 1,711 votes, and Marcus Hicks had 1,396. This will be Calcagno’s third consecutive term on council. He also previously served two stints as mayor while sitting on the township committee from 1999–2004.
Cipriano, 43, said the two days after the election were a whirlwind, with phone calls from Calcagno, Mayor Dave Fried and council president Dan Schuberth. He also said he jumped right in, spending time getting acquainted with the people and issues he’ll be working with at the municipal building. A police officer in Cranbury Township by trade, Cipriano has never held elected office before. He, however, is involved in town, coaching in the Robbinsville Soccer Association and Robbinsville Little League Softball, as well as supporting Robbinsville PBA Local 344.
He said he looks forward to trying to level off taxes in town, and helping to build a relationship between the council and the Board of Education. Cipriano said he wants to be an advocate for residents on council.
“I really put myself out there,” Cipriano said. “I listened to concerns. I think residents believe there was a change needed, and I’m glad I’m the one voters chose to provide that change.”
That said, Cipriano made it a point to emphasize that his win is not a commentary on the work done by McGowan, who had served on council for the last eight years.
“The election was close,” Cipriano said. “I think of it as winning the election but not beating another person. Sheree has done a great job representing the residents. I just hope to also do a great job.”
Cipriano’s election was the only change at the municipal level. Fried won his fourth term as mayor easily, defeating challenger Sonja Walter, 2,957-1,204.
In the Board of Education race, Lisa Temple won the one year remaining on Faith Silvestrov’s term, defeating Vito Galluccio. Galluccio, who was appointed to the board in September to fill Matt O’Grady’s seat, will remain on the board in that seat next year. Incumbents Sharon DeVito, Scott Veisz and Rich Young all won re-election to the school board.
“I’m ready to get to work and help keep our district moving forward,” Temple said in a statement. “Throughout the campaign, I highlighted issues that I believe to be a priority including improving teacher retention and exercising fiscal responsibility. I also hope to focus on areas such as streamlining and standardizing the use of technology in the classroom, identifying resolutions to transportation issues and ensure required testing is balanced and doesn’t take away from daily learning students need. I believe in programs that allow each student to develop themselves to their fullest potential and celebrate their personal achievement. Finally, I hope to foster an environment of more open communication between parents and the school.”
Elsewhere on the ballot, a majority of Mercer County voters cast their ballots for Democrat Phil Murphy, who defeated Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno. Guadagno only won districts in two Mercer towns: Hamilton and Robbinsville. In the rest of the county, Murphy won every single district. Democrats also swept the 14th Legislative District races, with senator Linda Greenstein and assemblymen Wayne DeAngelo and Dan Benson all retaining their seats in the state government.
Democrats won at the county level, too. John Kemler was retained his seat as Mercer County Sheriff, and Lucylle Walter and John Cimino were re-elected as Mercer County Freeholders.