Councilman Jonathan Nelson, a Democrat, officially announced his intention to run for Mayor of Parsippany-Troy Hills township at the Parsippany Sheraton Hotel.
His running mates — Robert Keller, currently a member of the Parsippany-Troy Hills Planning Board and political newcomer Mihir Oza are seeking the two available council seats. Nelson, and Republican Vincent Ferrara’s term ends December 31, along with the current Mayor, James Barberio.
A resident of the Powder Mill section, Jonathan ran for mayor in 2005, losing the Democratic nomination in the primary election to Former Mayor Michael Luther.
Nelson is currently the only Democrat on the Parsippany council, winning the seat vacated by now Freeholder John Cesaro in the November general election. Nelson is the first Democrat to sit on the Council in more than thirty years.
Jonathan except for a few years, is a 40 year resident of Parsippany. Graduated Parsippany High School in 1986 and he earned his BA from the University of Maryland College Park. For most of his adult life he has been a small business owner in Parsippany. Over the years he has been very involved with the Alliance for Lupus Research and has spent time overseas teaching English to impoverished Chinese students. He is also a member of the Greater Parsippany Kiwanis Club.
Bob Keller, 61, has been an important member of the Parsippany Troy Hills community for over 35 years. He serves on the Parsippany Democratic Executive Committee and is the liaison to the high schools for this scholarship award. Additionally, he has chaired the Parsippany Democratic Committee and served as treasurer for the Morris County Democratic Committee.
Bob ran for Township Council in 1995, ’97,’99 and ’00, and has served on the Planning Board since 1996.
In the wider community, Bob is an active member of the Kiwanis Club of Greater Parsippany, serving presently as president of the Kiwanis Foundation, following his 2011-2012 year as president of the organization. He is a member of the Morris County Multi-Organ Transplant Support Group, and has been a District 3 volunteer fireman (Lake Parsippany) for 30 years.
At Parsippany United Methodist Church, Bob has chaired the administrative council and currently serves as lay leader. He is a certified lay speaker for the United Methodist Church.
Bob’s professional career includes work in sales at Proctor and Gamble, Hess and Shell Oil, and as an editor at McGraw-Hill, finally in the position of executive editor at Platt’s Oilgram Price Report, a technical newsletter focused on the oil and gas business. With a work career that started at age eleven, Bob had work experience at a paint and wallpaper store, at a funeral parlor and as a radio disc jockey.
A graduate of California State University, Bob grew up in the Pittsburgh area and has been married to his high school sweetheart, Connie, for 39 years. They raised two sons, Jonathan and Michael.
Those who know him value Bob for his warmth, his calm, his wisdom and his perspective on local and national issues. The Parsippany community has gained immensely from his extensive participation.
Mihir Oza, 25, is a 2006 graduate of Parsippany Hills High School and a 2010 graduate of Drexel University. He currently works for a nonprofit organization in Morristown. Oza, said he previously canvassed for Nelson during his campaign for council and believed he could help attract younger voters, which could “increase council diversity and is emblematic of what this town actually is.”
In addition to Nelson, Republican Paul Carifi, Jr., announced his candicacy for Mayor seat in January. His running mates are Parsippany Area Chamber of Commerce President Robert Peluso and retired Parsippany Police Sgt. Louis Valori.
Running on the same ticket with Mayor James Barberio is Parsippany-Troy Hills Council Vice President Vincent Ferrara and Milan Shah.
Nelson said he planned to make his campaign “about the issues” and that other politicians, specifically local Republicans, “keep stirring the pot, instead of calming the waters.” Currently there are no other Democratic candidates joining the trio in the June 4 primary. Filing deadline for candidates is 4:00 p.m. on Monday, April 1.