This story has been updated with new information.
Andrea Sue Mandel, Sonia Gawas and Michael Stevens have announced their candidacy for three open seats on West Windsor Township Council in the Nov. 5 municipal election.
The three have formed a slate and are running for the seats currently held by council president Alison Miller, councilwoman Ayesha Hamilton and council vice president Yingchao “YZ” Zhang.
Miller plans to run again in November, but Community News has learned that Hamilton and Zhang do not intend to seek reelection.
Miller and Hamilton were elected to council in 2015 and Zhang was elected last year to fill the remaining year left open when Hemant Marathe was elected mayor.
Although the township’s municipal elections take place on Election Day, West Windsor is an nonpartisan form of government, and all candidates run unaffiliated.
“The three of us have gotten to know each other socially over the last few years and realized we shared the same passion for volunteer leadership and action in our beloved town” said a news release.
“We decided to run together as a ticket, and look forward to sharing our ideas, experience and record of service with the people of West Windsor over the next five months. Each of us hopes to continue our service to the community as elected members of the West Windsor Council.”
Mandel, a 30-year resident of West Windsor, has been a 20-plus year leader and service team member in Girl Scouts, as well as an elected delegate to the Girl Scouts USA National Convention.
She started and coached the all-girl championship FIRST Robotics teams Green Machine (FLL) and WAGS (FTC) 6037 for many years
The release says she is “a strong environmentalist who believes in a scientific approach.” She co-chaired the National Drive Electric Week event at the West Windsor Farmer’s Market last year.
Mandel worked as an engineering manager for several large companies before starting her own small consulting firm. She holds master’s degree in industrial engineering and bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering.
She is married and has one daughter currently studying for her master’s. Mandel currently is vice chair of the West Windsor Environmental Commission, serves on the Mercer County Sustainability Coalition, and is a member of the West Windsor Planning Board.
Gawas, a 10-year township resident, currently serves as president of the Maurice Hawk PTA and has served for six years on various committees.
She started Girl Scout Troop 70218 four years ago for her daughter and friends. She is also a small business owner. Gawas obtained bachelor’s degree in commerce from Pune University, as well as a diploma in computer science.
She had a career in pharmaceutical advertising until she decided to leave the corporate world to become a full-time mother and a volunteer in 2012. She is married with two children currently in WW-P elementary schools.
Stevens, a 26-year resident, is a member of the West Windsor Volunteer Fire Company, and serves as captain of the fire police.
He also chairs the department’s grants committee that successfully obtained a FEMA grant in excess of $300,000 for firefighter breathing equipment.
He is also a founding parent/mentor for FIRST Robotics Team 1923, the MidKnight Inventors.
Stevens obtained Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Purdue University and has had a career in the pharmaceutical/biotech industry spanning more than 30 years, including serving as vice president of medical affairs for the Bristol-Myers Squibb HIV/AIDS franchise.
An Eagle Scout, Stevens is married and has two daughters who were educated in the WW-P school system.
“The three of us have worked hard over the years for our community in different ways and share the common goal of keeping what makes West Windsor special while making it an even better place to live,” the three said in the release. “Together we present a well-balanced, nonpartisan team to shape the future of our community. We look forward to meeting as many of you in person as possible over the next several months.”