NEW YORK – Thomas Lankey (D) has been the Mayor of Edison Township, New Jersey, for about four years and is running for re-election on Nov. 7.
Prior to being Mayor, Lankey was on the Edison Township Council from 2010 to 2013 and is the senior Vice president at JFK Health Systems.
He was also the Vice Chairman from 1994 to 2014 on the Magyar Bank Board of Directors. He is a member of the Hospital Financial Management Association and the American College of Health Care Administrators as well as the Middlesex County Workforce Investment Board. He was also the Board Vice President of the Huntington’s Disease Society of N.J.
Lankey has a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the University of Delaware and has lived in Edison his whole life.
Excerpts of an email interview with News India Times:
Why are you running for Mayor again?
I am seeking a second, four-year term as Mayor of Edison to continue my effort to make Edison Township a safe, affordable and enjoyable place for people to live, raise a family, and work.
I am 57 and a lifelong Edison resident. My family’s roots are deeply intertwined in the fabric of this community. This fuels my commitment its residents and their safety; to Edison’s economic health and financial stability; and to sensible growth. I wish to continue helping Edison move forward and make progress.
As the current mayor, what have you done for Edison Township?
As Mayor, I have ensured that my Administration is conservative and fiscally responsible. Edison Town Hall now provides its first-rate services at lower operating costs than ever before.
We have invested in overdue infrastructure improvements – resurfacing more than 225 streets, replacing aging sewer lines, and improving our parks. We have made significant investments in Police and Fire Department manpower, training, technology and equipment.
These investments go hand-in-hand with my Administration’s economic development strategy. Since 2014, we have successfully made Edison a more attractive destination for larger corporate and commercial investors, and encouraged new small businesses and professional offices to open here.
These businesses have brought more than 3,500 new, higher-paying job opportunities to Edison and strengthened our municipal tax base, contributing $17.2 million more in annual taxes to help fund municipal services and provide relief to our residential taxpayers.
Edison’s total property value has risen to $7.1 billion – up by $110 million since 2014. While Edison is the largest town in Middlesex County, we now have the 6th lowest equalized tax rate among the 25 towns.
What are other things you plan to do for the township if re-elected?
In my second term, I hope to build upon my proud record of accomplishment. My Administration, in cooperation with the Edison Township Council, will continue to work diligently to improve Edison’s infrastructure. We will continue to improve our Police and Fire Departments and, if financially feasible, we hope to increase manpower.
We are examining how best to improve our Public Works Department, enabling it to provide better, more effective service to our community. We are also in the planning stage for an attractive, new municipal Recreation Center people of all ages and their families.
Why should the Indian American community bring you back as Mayor? What have you done for them specifically?
Edison Township’s broad ethnic, cultural and religious diversity has enriched our community and I am extremely proud to be Mayor here. No previous Administration has done more to embrace Edison’s newest residents.
My Administration ensures that Town Hall – including our Division of Public Safety – recruits and hires employees who better reflect our community’s diversity. We have created multi-cultural programs and outreach initiatives. We also vigorously encourage our newest neighbors to get involved in public affairs, to seek employment in public service, to volunteer for appointed boards and commissions, and to run for elected office.
Your opponent Keith Hahn says that you are a part-time Mayor. What do you have to say about that?
The Office of Mayor is – by municipal ordinance – a part-time position here in Edison. However, I have assembled an Administrative staff that provides full-time, qualified supervision in Town Hall. I personally dedicate countless hours each workday, nights and weekend to serve the people of Edison. Decades of corporate experience in hospital finance and administration have provided me with the managerial skills and financial expertise necessary to navigate and administer Town Hall’s large, complex budget.
Any message for our readers?
I have a deep, genuine concern for the well-being of all people who live and work in Edison Township. I also have a clear vision for the future of our community. With support and help from the Indian American community, we can move Edison forward and make tremendous progress together.