“Together we will work for you as a team at town hall, bringing innovation, heightened transparency and excellent communication.”
-KAREN COHEN, NIKITAS MOUSTAKAS AND FOZIA JANJUA
Meet the Candidates
Cohen, Moustakas and Janjua are the Democratic ticket running for Township Council in Mount Laurel. The group is diverse and community oriented, with a proven record of service. Under their leadership, they will offer a new direction that will usher in a more transparent, effective and efficient government that prioritizes public service to serve local residents. They are ready to serve Mount Laurel day one of their term.
Karen Cohen has been an active volunteer in our community for 25 years and these efforts have touched many lives protecting our environment, working to combat mental health challenges, improving education, fighting against addiction and ensuring continued access to our local library. Through her activism, Karen has become an advocate fighting for policies to combat climate change and will help address the high-water table and storm water management issues in Mount Laurel that have led to severe flooding. Karen is a mother of two children and married to her husband Edward. Karen is a tireless advocate who will bring new ideas and fresh approaches with a community focus to town hall.
Nikitas “Nik” Moustakas is a first generation Greek American and a founding partner at the law firm Moustakas Nelson. His practice focuses on corporate and business counseling, along with other business representation. Prior to his law career, for almost two decades Mr. Moustakas owned and operated a successful restaurant in Philadelphia after his father unexpectedly passed during law school. Nick will bring his unique perspective in business and law that will be able to provide a fiscally responsible approach to protect our tax dollars. His experience will also allow him to assist small businesses that have been hindered during the COVID-19 crisis. He is married to his wife, Jade, with whom he shares three daughters. When he’s not practicing law, he enjoys spending time with his family at the shore, and volunteering with various Greek-American groups in the Philadelphia region.
Fozia Janjua is a first generation Pakistani American and resident of Mount Laurel who learned the value of hard work, education and charity from her immigrant parents. Raised in San Francisco, California, Fozia is passionate about building strong communities through mentorship and service. She began her lifetime of volunteerism at a young age, and co-founded a non-profit, CommUnity SJP, where they provide meals for those in need, secure school supplies, distribute blankets to hospitals and shelters. She is an educator who will bring much needed compassion, empathy and innovation to town hall to better serve our community. She is married to her husband Safeer and the mother of four boys.
“In these challenging times, we know that families and small businesses have been severely impacted financially during the public health crisis and we must do more with less at town hall. We will protect taxpayers by requiring every municipal department to justify all spending and identify cost savings to hold the line against unnecessary tax increases.”
– KAREN COHEN, NIKITAS MOUSTAKAS AND FOZIA JANJUA
Cohen, Moustakas, and Janjua know the difficult times faced by many during these dual crises and they too want to hear from their elected officials. The current Republican leadership on town council have been disconnected from the needs of its residents and are invisible in the face of a public health and economic crisis. They are tired of only hearing from our elected officials when they need our vote. If elected, they pledge to radically improve communication to keep taxpayers informed and up to date.
Mount Laurel residents should be actively involved in the decisions made on behalf of the Township. That’s why they support making it easier for taxpayers to really see township finances. They will implement a simple three clicks or less approach to access key financial records, and online check register so every dollar is openly disclosed.
Accessibility & Transparency
It is the responsibility of public officials to engage with the residents to bring the government closer to the people being represented. There were efforts by the current Republican council leadership to block improved communication and public access to records. Additionally, they attempted to disenfranchise nearly ten thousand voters by rushing to change the form of Township government.
If elected, Cohen, Moustakas, and Janjua will require town meetings to be transparent, available online and open to all. As your new town council members, they will provide an open and transparent government at town hall. They will provide innovative fresh ideas and new approaches to ensure that residents’ tax dollars spent are readily available.
Cohen, Moustakas, and Janjua know that residents’ tax dollars are hard earned, and the council should be doing all it can to make your life better. Under the current leadership, the Republicans on council have mismanaged our finances with a declining budget surplus (also known as a “rainy day fund”), which will be critically needed as tax revenues are on the decline due to the economic shutdown of the Covid-19 crisis. Their failure to build up that surplus will likely result in massive tax hikes.
If elected, they will fight for improved oversight of our tax dollars. They will implement cutting-edge solutions to improve oversight and ensure your tax dollars are spent efficiently and effectively. They support a concept called Zero Based Budgeting, where each department starts their budget at zero and justifies every penny of tax dollar they want to spend before final approval. They will work bring 21st century fiscal ideas to Mount Laurel Town Hall.
Traffic and Road Conditions
Mount Laurel has a permanent population of about 42,600 but during the Monday to Friday workday there is a transient population of about 150,000. Due to this population increase, the roads incur more wear and tear and fill up faster.
If elected, they pledge to work with our appointed professionals to develop plans to alleviate traffic, especially during the peak work hours. They will work to improve the road conditions and change traffic patterns, where necessary, to improve traffic conditions.
Supporting Small Business
The pandemic forced many of our local small businesses in Mount Laurel to close. They have struggled to keep their employees on and safely reopen. If elected, Cohen, Moustakas, and Janjua will work to keep our local businesses afloat while keeping the small town feel that many residents love. They understand what it takes to create jobs and grow our economy. They’ll bring ideas for creative economic development, lead efforts for a master plan for a potential downtown area and attract investments to make Mount Laurel a great destination for small businesses.
Recreational Open Space
Mount Laurel is currently home to 22 parks and areas of recreation that its residents regularly enjoy. The small town feel that many residents enjoy is due in large part to the parks and open space in the municipality. Overdevelopment has caused, in part, Mount Laurel to lose some of its small-town feel. If elected, Cohen, Moustakas, and Janjua vow to protect the open space and recreation area and to expand it further, so that residents will have the chance to enjoy more of it.
Environmental and Emergency Preparedness
Climate change has caused long term effects in our area and is only expected to get worse. Flooding has always been a central environmental concern in Mount Laurel. During severe weather events, major roads flood, leaving many of them unpassable. If elected, they vow to deploy the most advanced public safety tools and to work hard on our residents’ behalf to secure federal emergency management programs funding so that victims of flooding will have the support they need. Additionally, they will work to modernize and secure our electrical grid, so that when they lose power, it will be for only a short period of time.
KAREN COHEN, NIKITAS MOUSTAKAS AND FOZIA JANJUA
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 3RD, 2020
Plan Your Vote
Election Day is November 3, 2020. In order to help your vote, we have included everything you need to know about mail-in and early in-person voting for our state!
Here is a guide for mail in ballots (also known as “early voting,” “absentee voting,” or “voting by mail”) in New Jersey:
Am I Registered to Vote?
Double-check your Voter Registration (make sure the mailing address is up-to-date) here:
When is the deadline to register to vote?
The deadline is Tuesday, October 13th, 2020.
Can I register to vote and cast my ballot on the same day?
No, you must register before October 13th if you are not already registered.
When is the deadline to request a mail-in ballot?
All registered voters receive their mail-in ballot automatically. Ballots are expected to go out October 5th, 2020.
When do I need to mail my ballot by?
Your ballot must be postmarked by Tuesday, November 3rd (Election Day) and received by Tuesday, November 10th. If there is no postmark, must be received by Thursday, November 5th.
After I vote by mail, can I track my ballot?
Yes, you can track it here: voter.svrs.nj.gov/auth/sign-up.
If I do not want to use the Post Office, where else can I drop my ballot off?
Each county has set up at least five locations for voters to drop their ballots off. A ballot box will be located at the Mount Laurel Municipal Building, 100 Mount Laurel Rd, Mt. Laurel, NJ 08054. The ballot box will be open 24 hours a day to collect ballots until 8pm November 3rd.
Additionally, you may drop off your ballot at the County Clerk or the Local Board of Election. The County Clerk is located at 50 Rancocas Road, Mount Holly, NJ 08060.
Can I vote by mail without an excuse?
Yes, you can vote by mail without an excuse.
Can I vote without a notary or witness?
Yes, you can vote without a notary or witness.
Can I vote without a photo ID?
Yes, you can vote without a photo ID.
Can I use COVID-19 as an excuse?
Yes, you can use COVID-19 as an excuse.
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We can’t do this without your help.
We know the hard times faced during this unprecedented public health crisis. However, help is available for those who need it. As such, we have compiled a list of resources to assist you during these times. We are all in this together. Stay safe, wear a mask, social distance and wash your hands.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Hotline
Available 24/7 with multi-language capabilities to answer your questions and concerns.
• In-state (NJ) Phone Number: 1-800-222-1222
• Out-of-state Phone Number: 1-800-962-1253
Other Helpful Phone Numbers and Links
• NJ residents may speak with a healthcare professional at 1-800-962-1253.
• For general public health information, call 211. NJ Residents may text “NJCOVID” to 898-211.
• List of NJ testing sites: bit.ly/NJTestingSitesList
• All other questions about resources in NJ: covid19.nj.gov
• Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Info.: cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
NJ residents may reach out to additional services for small business and families. We have compiled a list for your convenience.
• Apply for unemployment benefits in NJ: myunemployment.nj.gov
• Search for available jobs in NJ: jobs.covid19.nj.gov
• If you have lost your job and health insurance, enroll in the ACA within the first 60 days of losing coverage: nj.gov/governor/getcoverednj/family/
• NJ loans and grants for small businesses: bit.ly/COVID19NJBusinessInfo
• Small Business Administration Federal Cares Act Grants and Loans: sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options
• Small Business Administration Disaster Assistance: sba.gov/funding-programs/disaster-assistance
• National Domestic Violence Hotline: Call 1-800-799-7233 or visit thehotline.org/help/ online.
• New Jersey’s 24-hour statewide domestic violence hotline: 1-800-601-7200
• Survivors and their loved ones can also find support locally through New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault: njcasa.org/
• Burlington County Food Pantries: www.co.burlington.nj.us/DocumentCenter/View/9845/Food-Pantries-in-Burlington-County
For Mount Laurel Township Council