The Atlantic Highlands Herald invited each of the candidates for office to school boards and governing bodies in Atlantic Highlands, Highlands, Middletown and Sea Bright to respond to a series of questions about themselves to better inform our readers about their campaigns. The deadline for submission is Friday, October 22. We will post their responses individually and make them available in our Politics Section.
November 2, 2021 – General Election
Profile Date: October 19, 2021
Candidate Name: Brian Dougherty
Age (as of Election Day):46
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Position Sought (term): Atlantic Highlands Borough Council
Party Affiliation or Banner: Democrat
Family: Husband to Erin Dougherty, married since 2008. Three children, ages 11, 9, 5, all of whom attend Atlantic Highlands Elementary School
Education: Bachelor of Music in Education/Vocal Performance, Westminster Choir College, Princeton, NJ.
Occupation: I have two careers. I am in Board Relations and Academic Programs at Rockefeller University in New York, and I sing professionally.
Previous or Current Elected or Appointed Office: I have been an appointed member of the Planning Board (Class I Mayor’s Designee) since 2017. I am also a member of the Environmental Commission, Communications and Technology Committee and the Plan Approval Advisory Committee.
Campaign Website or Facebook page:
Why are you seeking office?
Erin and I chose this community in which to raise our three children. I’m running for a seat on Council because I love Atlantic Highlands and want the town in which they will grow up to achieve its true potential. Lately, our local political discourse has been deeply disappointing. I’ve watched the last two local campaigns mirror the divisive tone of our national politics, and the Mayor and Republican-led Council spend their time passing misleading and inaccurate resolutions on things like vote-by-mail instead of proactively working to solve our community’s problems. That’s a waste of everyone’s time and our resident’s money. There’s too much work to do.
The two most important issues facing our (board, district, council, committee etc.) are annual property tax assessments, and preparing for the future, and this is what I intend to do about it.
Once sworn in on January 1st, I will work with the mayor, Council and new Borough Administrator Robert Ferragina to determine if the Assessment Demonstration Program, the controversial program that calls for annual property tax assessments that is unique to Monmouth County, is right for our community and its residents. In addition, I will press for the council to fully implement the 2019 Master Plan and, in particular, the provisions called for therein to follow the recommendations and data of the “Getting to Resilience” report from January 2015 and those related to infrastructure and sustainability.
Describe the other issues that define your campaign platform.
Lesley D’Almeida and my campaign platform is all about moving Atlantic Highlands forward. What does that mean? It means working collaboratively and proactively with the mayor, Council, the local Boards of Education, our business community, and our residents to solve the issues of today and anticipate our needs for the future.
We should be examining comprehensive school regionalization options that will benefit both our taxpayers and our children; not narrow and insufficient ones like the Sea Bright proposal that will do little to move the needle for our community. We should be holding annual “Goals and Priorities” meetings with stakeholders from throughout the community to coordinate our municipal efforts. Finally, we need to remember that we are neighbors first, ratcheting down the partisanship and turning up the cooperation.
What accomplishments in your past would you cite as evidence you can handle this job?
In my 16 years working with the Board of Trustees at Rockefeller University, I have successfully used technology to improve our board’s efficiency and communications. I have participated in the drafting and implementation of two Strategic Plans and worked closely with the Rockefeller leadership on major infrastructure projects and executive and faculty recruitment.
Locally, I have spent the last five years volunteering on borough committees – first on the Planning Board, and lately on three others. I’ve seen first-hand the dedication and resourcefulness of my fellow committee members. We’ve worked in an efficient, non-partisan manner to do the work for the people of Atlantic Highlands.
What else would you like voters to know about yourself and your positions? I’m an effective communicator and an even better listener. It’s impossible to make music if you don’t listen to the musicians around you. I prepare, I put in the work, I follow through in everything I do. I keep my word. I will bring that work ethic and professionalism to my work on Borough Council, representing all citizens of Atlantic Highlands regardless of their political party. It would be the honor of my lifetime to serve as your Councilman.