CHESTERFIELD, NJ – A successful 3rd year of the Chesterfield Harvest Festival took place this past weekend. 60+ vendors attended the festival, ranging from crafts, food & public township displays. A band made up of Northern Burlington High School students played for the entirety of the event. Rides & other attractions were available for kids. Residents from in and out of Chesterfield attended this sunny event and enjoyed every minute of it.

Among the vendors were the three township committee candidates running their campaigns: Republican Incumbent Sam Davis, whose seat is up for re-election, Democrat and resident Shreekant Dohpte, and running as an Independent is current Board of Education President Jignesh Shah. WBNC News was able to interview the candidates about their campaign.

Dohpte was the first to be approached, who was also seen with Jackie Halaw, who is running unopposed for the available Chesterfield Board Of Education seat. When asked why he decided to run, it was because of transparency, tax stabilization, and keeping the community together.

“We have so many different, diverse populations over here who are actively participating in the system and I need to make sure that all of them come together, and I want them to participate. Unless you come together and participate, we can’t make a change. So, I want to make a change, and I want everybody to be allowed to make a change.”

Shreekant DhopteChesterfield Twp Committee Candidate (D)

Dhopte also feels very positive about his campaign, when asked if he feels he can take Davis’ seat, stating, “I’m trying to run a campaign with all the positives, I don’t believe in any negative campaigning. So, I’m doing the best I can, and I wish [Davis] all the best.” If elected, he wants three main issues to be resolved, “bring greater transparency… Be fiscally responsible..to get more working people involved, whether it’s setting up the agricultural rights loophole, a budget advisory committee.”

Davis was seen walking around the festival, talking with other residents. However, when asked about any future improvements or projects to be done if re-elected, he told WBNC News that he has “lots of plans” but does not want to be too specific with anything at the moment. Despite his vague response, he feels confident that he will keep his seat in the Committee.

Shah was with his tent, and anyone who had approached it was greeted with a large sign, to vote Jignesh Shah for Township Committee. Unlike the other two candidates, Shah is running as independent, which is unlike what we have seen in recent years. When asked why, Shah says “The decisions that I’m going to be making, if I’m elected, are going to be based on what’s good for the Chesterfield Township”.

“It’s easy to be on this side of the table and talk about many things when you don’t have the facts. If I’m elected, I want to look at what’s going on at the township level and see what’s feasible to continue, or that’s what we can do. That’s going to be my approach.”

Jignesh ShahChesterfield Twp Committee Candidate, (I)

Chesterfield Board of Education Board Member Laura Bond chose not to run for re-election to the local school board, rather running as a write-in candidate as the Chesterfield Representative on the Northern Burlington Board of Education.

WBNC News will be live on Election Night, Tuesday, November 6th, reporting the results of the local and state-wide races.

Marisa Murphy can be reached at mmurphy@wbncnews.com