O’Keefe, Bolton, & Ferretti Kick Off 2017 Campaign

Ringwood, NJ – Co-Campaign managers Jessica Diaz and Brennan Gray announced the beginning of the 2017 campaign for the Democratic ticket for the Ringwood Borough Council. A new slate of candidates is ready to infuse some fresh ideas into the Borough of Ringwood. The “Row B” ticket of Kathleen O’Keefe, Ryan Bolton, and Rob Ferretti have officially launched their campaign to bring balance to the Borough’s council. They are looking forward to placing an emphasis on returning to a more transparent local government, producing a long-term, fiscally sound management plan for the Borough, and protecting and preserving the natural beauty of Ringwood.

Though Democratic candidates nationwide have polled surprisingly well in traditionally Republican-dominated districts this year, Gray is quick to note that this race has little to do with what is going on elsewhere. “This is a local race with an emphasis on local issues,” he said. “This is not a referendum on what is going on nationally, but rather what is going on right here in our own backyard. Kathy, Ryan, and Rob believe that the residents of Ringwood are ready for a change after nearly a decade of Republicans sitting on the council.”

Kathleen O’Keefe, a Corporate Coach at Mercedes-Benz, has lived in Ringwood for 22 years and has witnessed firsthand a great many changes within the community since she first settled here with her husband, Chris Schwab, and their three daughters. “I believe the Council should work to develop a long-term plan that helps address vacant retail properties and property values that aren’t rebounding as quickly as neighboring communities,” said O’Keefe, who worked in real estate for 12 years before beginning her current position. “I keep hearing about the Highlands Act and how it prevents development, but what about the existing businesses? Why do we have so many empty storefronts? We need to attract new businesses in order to create more jobs for our young people.”

O’Keefe, whose three daughters went through the Ringwood school system, is dedicated to a quality education for our children. “When people buy a home, the local school district is a significant factor in their decision making,” said O’Keefe. “It’s important that the Council supports the Borough’s Board of Education and holds the state of New Jersey accountable when it comes to school funding. The current funding formula under Chris Christie isn’t working. Quality schools shouldn’t equal higher property taxes.”

Working hand in hand with members of the community is a priority of Kathleen’s, as she seeks to strengthen the Borough’s relationships with all members of the community. “If elected,” O’Keefe said, “I will keep an open mind, focus on the facts when seeking solutions, and treat all Ringwood citizens with respect.”

Ryan Bolton, an Eagle Scout and Ringwood resident of six years, identifies a need for consensus building in the bucolic community. “I don’t even like to think of us as Democrats,” Bolton said, “but as neighbors. Local politics is no place for the divisiveness we see on the national level. We shop at the same grocery store, dine at the same restaurants. We are all in this together.”

Quick to volunteer, Bolton became a member of the Executive Board at Cupsaw Lake a few months after moving to town. “I firmly believe that if there is something you want to change or impact, the responsibility lies with you to contribute.” It is this attitude that led Bolton to become an organizer of Ringwood C.A.R.E.S and to take a more active role in local politics. If elected, Ryan would like to work with members of the community to develop a plan of action that fully addresses the Ford Superfund cleanup. He also wants to clean up Skyline Drive and will work with landlords to increase occupancy rates, while developing incentives for new businesses. Additionally, Bolton hopes to introduce a proactive outbound communication system from the Borough with the goal of more openly engaging residents.

“The health and welfare of our community and the respect and sustainability of our natural environment should be the priority of the Ringwood Borough Council,” said Rob Ferretti, a Ringwood resident of 11 years. Ferretti holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies from Ramapo College, which is where he first discovered Ringwood. “I studied and visited Ringwood while at Ramapo and immediately fell in love. Two years after graduating, my wife and I bought a home here to raise our family,” said Ferretti, a stay-at-home father of four. As a stay-at-home dad and coach, Ferretti feels certain that he has the pulse of Ringwood residents. “While others are out of town 8+ hours a day, I am at the bus stop in the morning, at the soccer field on weekends, and at the lake in the summer,” said Ferretti. “I know what issues are important to my neighbors and plan on being their voice on the Council.”

Like Bolton, Ferretti is an active member of Ringwood C.A.R.E.S. The current council’s controversial plan to build a recycling center on top of the Ringwood Superfund site, thus ignoring the EPA’s recommendation, led Ferretti to become more involved in local politics. Ferretti advocates for monthly testing of all municipal wells to ensure the safety of our water system. “If elected, I would like to protect, promote, and hopefully allow the Borough to profit from Ringwood’s most readily accessible resources – open space and natural beauty,” said Ferretti. A licensed NJ real estate agent, Ferretti is also interested in exploring innovative ways to increase Ringwood’s stagnant property values.

“All three Democratic candidates have displayed a commitment to preserving Ringwood’s status as the Gem of the Highlands,” said Diaz. “The residents of Ringwood deserve balanced and fair representation on their local Council.” For voters who would like more information on O’Keefe, Bolton, and Ferretti, Diaz recommends liking their page on Facebook, Committee to Elect O’Keefe, Bolton, and Ferretti.