Monday, November 5, 2018 3:22 PM

Get out and Vote!

Monday, November 5, 2018 3:19 PM

That vote has been costly. Prize it!

Monday, November 5, 2018 3:16 PM

The Best Place to Live in NJ


Monday, October 29, 2018 11:31 AM

Valuing Diversity and Each Other—in Chatham

by Carolyn Dempsey and Jocelyn Mathiasen, Candidates for Chatham Borough Council

During our campaign outreach and day-to-day interactions around Chatham, we have been lucky enough to meet many wonderful residents, representing different ages, political affiliations, races, religions and backgrounds. The vast majority want Chatham to embrace the values of diversity and acceptance, to live the slogan that we are a welcoming community.

But, we have also heard troubling stories of intolerance towards some of our own because of their race or ethnicity. Most worrisome are the recent stories of racially-motivated bullying in our schools, especially Chatham Middle School. As a result, some of the residents we have spoken to are questioning whether this is the right place to raise children to have open minds and hearts. We need to do better for them, and we can.

All communities, including Chatham, benefit from diversity. Diversity creates richer experiences for us all, deeper learning and a greater understanding of the world. Schools, companies and towns are more likely to thrive and prosper when they seek out and embrace members who represent a wide swath of backgrounds. Most importantly, by living, learning and growing with people who are different from us we learn to recognize and value every person’s basic humanity and individuality.

Prejudice and bigotry come in many forms, but invariably stem from fear and ignorance, sometimes stoked by leaders who manipulate this fear for their own benefit. The best way to counter fear and ignorance is through learning, and the best learning comes from exposure. Our children will be better prepared for adulthood if they are exposed to people who are different from them and can teach them that society is complex—not everyone experiences it the same way.

Chatham offers a number of wonderful ways to do this, many of which Carolyn has been involved with through her church, local organizations and through other Chatham residents who have organized events:

• The Abraham luncheon hosted annually at the Chatham United Methodist Church brings together faith leaders and people of the Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam).

• Gloria Dei Lutheran Church hosts an Interfaith Youth dinner which brings together students of a wide variety of faith traditions.

• Jessica Romeo of Chatham Township has hosted a popular International Potluck dinner at Stanley Congregational Church which she plans to host again, as well as the family Martin Luther King, Jr. Day luminaria program at the Library of the Chathams, which she will also be organizing in January.

• Also at the library, Borough resident Minati O’Connell spearheaded the “Trip Around the World” program with support from Chatham Moms for Change and Chatham High School students. The program showcased 13 different countries throughout the 2017-18 school year. Not only did this program allow children to see the similarities across the world, they participated in fun activities and food sampling form each country.

• Minati O’Connell also launched the Cultural Committee of the Chathams, which includes members of Chatham Moms for Change and plans to host events in the coming year, such as an International Food Truck Festival.

There is a deeply worrying rise in bigotry in this country, cloaked in patriotism and fed by rejection of historical facts and human experiences. We in Chatham need to be a force for good and fully embrace every citizen. We will all be better off for it.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018 3:59 PM

Listeneing to our neighbors

Tuesday, October 23, 2018 10:42 AM

Candidate Statement: SHOW KINDNESS


Since I declared my candidacy for Chatham Borough Council I have been asked time and again, “Why are you doing this?” Most of my friends and family members would rather have a root canal than run for office. At first, I found myself searching for the best way to express my reasons, but no answer ever felt completely right. Then, in early June, as I was walking our dog past the train trestle on Fairmount Avenue, I looked down on the ground beneath the mural that Mr. Hasegawa created with the Public Arts Council. Someone had written on the ground in chalk, “Show kindness.” I realized at that moment that THIS is why I am running for office.

Our country is so divided right now, and I want to do what I can to bring people together. The people who live in Chatham, for the most part, want the same things: a safe and welcoming community, excellent schools for our children, and a good quality of life for ourselves and our families. I believe our government can—and does—play a vital role in making Chatham not only a desirable place to live, but a community where the residents are invested in the well-being of their town. That’s where kindness comes in.

If we can show, from the top down, that our elected officials truly care about our residents, we will improve not only relations but results. I believe this starts with listening. The borough has instituted a new platform, “Planet Civic”, which is a great tool for communicating with residents. I say let’s go even further. Throughout my professional and personal life, my ability to communicate well with people has been a strength. When I interviewed with the CIA they believed, through my language skills and personal manner, that I would be skilled in fostering relationships and developing contacts for U.S. intelligence. When I was on Capitol Hill, my congressman touted my ability to calm agitated constituents and find answers to their issues.

That kind of one-on-one personal connection with constituents cannot be underestimated. I have had powerful conversations with fellow residents while canvassing during this campaign, residents who’ve said no candidate or official had ever reached out to them personally. I think we can take a multi-layered approach for communicating with residents—through social media, the holding of office hours, and other more formal efforts to meet with them. Let’s listen to each other to understand what our residents’ needs truly are. In other words, let’s show kindness.

“Community” isn’t just a word for a group of people living in the same area geographically. We have a feeling of fellowship and common interest that our borough government can bolster. I have learned that folks in Chatham want a vibrant downtown and more community events, not fewer. The Farmer’s Market, Fishawack, and our parade and fireworks on the Fourth of July are traditions that help knit us together. They showcase Chatham Borough, inviting others in to see what a great town we have. I think we could do even more. For example, we could offer a summer concert series at the gazebo, or perhaps yoga sessions on the gazebo lawn. Both of these are ideas proposed by our Community Services department. Activities such as these bring in people, foot traffic, and potential customers for our businesses downtown. The costs of these activities are minimal compared to the benefits. Such events bring together people of all ages, ethnic backgrounds, and economic levels, making us all feel excited to be living here. That is positive community-building. That is how we show kindness.

In my various leadership and volunteer roles in my church, our schools, and philanthropic organizations, as well as in my small business (Carolyn’s Cookies), I have had to raise money and work within budgets. Being fiscally conservative is a hallmark of our borough government and I believe in maintaining that commitment while continuing to improve on the services we provide our town. We should be able to go online to apply for a pet or garage sale license instead of having to line up for one in Borough Hall. Instead of locking up our public tennis courts and requiring a photo “membership” I.D. to use them, we should provide free and open access to all who wish to play on them. The cumbersome and expensive variance process on home additions and new construction should be simplified by going paperless, so that a homeowner doesn’t have to pay for seventeen sets of architectural drawings when appearing before the planning board. Regular reviews of our shared services contracts to make sure we’re getting the optimal service for what we as taxpayers are paying for should be an absolute priority. We residents of Chatham pride ourselves in aspiring to have an environmentally conscious town, so let’s get the pesticides out of our playing fields and grassy areas by going completely organic. We must resolve to negotiate an affordable contract with a landscaper who will help us do so. The township has achieved this, and so can we. Our elected officials must always look to do better for the people of Chatham; to me, that is the ultimate kindness.

These days, each side of the political aisle is shrieking at the other with little cooperation or effective policymaking taking place. When I was growing up I respected my elected officials. That’s not happening today. I want to return bipartisan civility to our local government. I grew up a Republican, and honestly, the values I was raised with haven’t changed, although the rhetoric certainly has. We are in need of broader representation here in Chatham that reflects the true demographics of our town. That means having greater female representation, and, hopefully, a greater diversity of ideas on the Borough Council going forward. Let’s be the model of a town whose leaders can work together, across the aisle, to bring together ideas that are representative of all our residents; this will help ensure that our Council makes decisions that will truly benefit all of who live in this wonderful borough.

I believe seeing those words, “Show Kindness” below our Chatham mural on that walk in June was a bit of kismet. My family has been touched by the kindness of Chatham, most notably when I was diagnosed with breast cancer five years ago. This town has become our extended family. While I wouldn’t wish cancer on anyone, I can tell you it has shaped how I see our friends and neighbors, and the needs of this special community. Chatham needs empathetic leaders who will reach out to residents and work relentlessly on behalf of all its residents for the purpose of making our terrific borough even better. If elected on November 6, I will be such a leader. That’s my promise.

Monday, September 24, 2018 3:47 PM


Can I believe a woman, assaulted over 30 years ago, who is only now speaking publicly? Yes, because I am also that woman. That woman is also your sister, your daughter, your friend. There are more of us than you know and dozens of reasons we choose not to speak out. We need to start listening to victims and not shaming them. Sometimes doing the right thing is not the easy thing. For me, speaking out and bringing this issue into the light is the right thing. #believesurvivors #victimsamongus #standstrongstandup

Friday, August 31, 2018 5:29 PM

Eat. Drink. Mingle.

7:00 – 9:00 pm

Charlie Brown's Steakhouse
Chatham, New Jersey

Chatham Moms for Change and The Democratic Club of the Chathams host an evening with the candidates.

Shala Gagliardi for Morris County Clerk
Carolyn Dempsey for Chatham Borough Council
Tracy Ness for Chatham Township Council
Jocelyn Mathiasen for Chatham Borough Council

Friday, July 20, 2018 10:26 AM

Are you registered to vote?

Monday, July 16, 2018 10:24 AM

Sunday Evening

A perfect night for dinner and dessert in downtown Chatham.

Friday, July 6, 2018 3:53 PM

What's Missing Here?

I’ve had many great visits to our nation’s capital, but this tour I saw through a different lens. In the weeks ahead I plan to post more videos outlining why I want to represent Chatham Borough!

Thursday, July 5, 2018 3:37 PM

July 4th Parade in Chatham

Thank you for your enthusiasm, Chatham! What a terrific Independence Day!

Tuesday, June 19, 2018 12:46 PM

Senator Cory Booker provides encouragement

So happy to receive this encouragement from New Jersey Senator Cory Booker!!👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

Tuesday, June 12, 2018 5:20 PM

An Evening at Town Tennis

Last night we spent a lovely evening at the Town Tennis Club on the east side of Manhattan, generously hosted by Fay Ann Lee. We were joined by college friends, friends from Manhattan and longtime tennis friends, including the honorable David N. Dinkins.

Sunday, June 10, 2018 11:00 PM

Fishawack Festival 2018

What a great day at Chatham’s Fishawack Festival on June 9! It was so energizing speaking with the many friends and neighbors who stopped by the Chatham Democrats booth. It truly is one of my favorite days in Chatham.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018 8:32 PM

The votes are in!

Thank you to all who came out and voted in the primary! The unofficial results are in and the top vote-getters in Chatham Borough are listed above. Exciting things to come—let’s take our momentum all the way to November!

Tuesday, June 5, 2018 11:33 AM

Today is the day

Every vote counts. Especially at the local level. Polls are open until 8:00 pm.

Sunday, June 3, 2018 11:00 AM

Carolyn is Featured Speaker at Relay for Life

Saturday, June 2, 2018 10:00 PM

GotV Rally at the Chatham Gazebo

Borough Council candidates Jill Strickler and Carolyn Dempsey at the Get Out The Vote Rally on Saturday, June 2 at the Chatham Gazebo. Speakers included Senator Bob Menendez, NJ 11th candidate Mikie Sherrill and Parsippany mayor Michael Soriano.

Friday, June 1, 2018 9:20 AM

Sample Ballots Have Arrived

Sample ballots arrived in the mail today! Chatham's own Shala Gagliardi is running for County Clerk.

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