Bloomfield BOE Candidate: COVID Was ‘Overwhelming Issue’ Of 2020

Eric Kiefer
·3 min read

BLOOMFIELD, NJ — Thomas Heaney hopes Bloomfield voters “did their homework.” And if so, he feels pretty good about his re-election chances to the Bloomfield Board of Education this year, he says.

This year, the general election is being held mostly via mail due to the coronavirus crisis. But a limited number of polling places will be open on Nov. 3, the same day that mail-in ballots must be postmarked in order to be counted.

In addition to a race for the Bloomfield Township Council, there are six people running for three seats on the Bloomfield Board of Education. In addition to Heaney, candidates include Satenik Margaryan, Kasey Dudley, Nadeisha Greene, Jessica Salinas and Ellen Rogers.

Heaney is running on a slate with Salinas and Rogers.

READ MORE: Election Day In Bloomfield (When, Where To Vote)

On the eve of a historic, coronavirus-influenced election, Heaney offered an optimistic prediction for Election Day on Tuesday.

Pointing to his recent endorsements from Our Revolution Essex County and the Bloomfield Education Association, Heaney, the chairman of the board’s finance and facilities committee, said that he’s confident his campaign “resonated” with local voters.

The COVID-19 pandemic had a role in the election, he said.

“This is a very different year than what we've had in the past,” Heaney told Patch, adding that the pandemic is the “overwhelming issue of the day.”

But there are other core issues that were important before COVID-19 … and will be afterwards, too, he previously pointed out.

According to a campaign social media post from Heaney, Salinas and Rogers, they include:

CURRICULUM – “With our leadership Bloomfield has now been designated a High Performing District by the state of New Jersey. Our social and emotional learning initiatives through the Sandy Hook Promise Program have been award winning, i.e., The Wingman Initiative and the “Start with Hello” program. We offer a culturally diverse platform through the Amistad and Holocaust Curriculum and are committed to educating the whole child. As experienced board members, we are dedicated to remain informed with these new and vital approaches to learning.”

PERSONNEL – “We are focused and concerned with the issue of greater staff diversity within the Bloomfield school system. As a result, we have worked diligently to recently settle a new teacher contract with competitive salaries. Our efforts are to recruit more diverse teacher candidates within Essex County. We have also partnered with local colleges to attract student teachers with diverse backgrounds in hopes for future employment within the district.”

FACILITIES – “Maintaining a safe school environment is of the upmost importance to our team. We have collaborated with administration to approve several upgrades including the phasing in of security cameras, anti-intruder locks, new exterior lighting, lockdown shades and panic alarms in accordance with Alyssa’s Law. We realize the issue of safety shall remain on the forefront, particularly during this time of COVID-19 with our eventual return to in-person instruction.”

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This article originally appeared on the Bloomfield Patch