Judy Hernandez

1. What is your educational and volunteer background?
I have a Bachelor’s of Engineering Degree in Civil Engineering from Manhattan College. I participated in the Rutgers Environmental Stewards Program and Rutgers Green Infrastructure Workshops. I currently serve on Parsippany’s Planning Board and I am the Vice Chair on the Environmental Advisory Committee. Additionally, I am on the Board of Trustees for the Parsippany Child Day Care Center. Within Glacier Hills, I am on the Neighborhood Association Civic Committee and I am a Sunday School teacher at Denville Community Church.

2. Why did you choose to run for council?
I decided to run for Town Council because I believe my election will expand and continue the positive momentum for Parsippany that we’ve seen in the last 2 years. Since then, we have made great progress in our town with initiatives such as a renewed commitment to conform with the Highlands Council and recertification with Sustainable NJ, both of which can provide our town with opportunities for grants and resources. Both of these were allowed to lapse under the previous administration. Council decisions are controlled by the council majority. The previous administration’s budget and development decisions were made without smart planning for the future and we are still paying the price.

3. What do you is feel the biggest issue facing Parsippany today?
There are two big challenges that I see facing Parsippany today. One of these challenges is the lack of civic engagement. On the local level, we all have similar goals and those goals could and should bring people together and give them a “voice”. The majority of Parsippany’s current council governs in a partisan manner which discourages residents from engaging in local politics. Another challenge for Parsippany moving into the future is meeting the pressures of development while maintaining the quality of life that we cherish in our town. This can be done by preserving our open spaces, attract businesses to existing unoccupied buildings, and engaging the community in open meetings on the Master Plan Update.

4. Why did you decide to run now?
While no one can suggest Parsippany is not developing, over the years we have been overrun by development without due consideration for the residents and resources.  In some cases it is now or never for scarce open space. Parsippany is the largest town in Morris County and we can use our resources to accomplish important things. There are opportunities to be a successful and sustainable town if we want to keep Parsippany as the “place to be”. This means attracting business and addressing local infrastructure problems with sustainable development including proactively protecting our open spaces and our natural resources.  There is also a growing awareness of the impact of humans footprint on our environment as we see the effects of long time misguided practices playing out in real time.

5. What specific skills will you bring to the table if elected?
My broad professional skills include experience in civil and environmental engineering. I have been involved for many years as an officer in local politics. Town, professional and local experience qualifies me for this office and deserving of your confidence.

6. What new programs or initiatives would you like to start if elected?
I would like to see our town participate in sustainable programs such as proven programs that can make our town more energy efficient and environmentally resilient while helping the town save tax dollars. Also, I would find ways to engage the community, especially our youth, in our town. While knocking on doors was I surprised to find good people wanting to understand how the town operates.  This summer we saw many residents energized and engaged when the Single Use Plastic Bag Ordinance was introduced. Why not utilize that enthusiasm and energy?

7. What are you passionate about?
This is a big question and I have more than one answer. My first answer is that I am passionate about the natural world, music and art.  The other part of my answer is what motivates me to be involved on the local level. I believe we all do better when we all can succeed and flourish. Like the old saying “rising waters lift all boats”, I believe I need to do my part in help making that happen.

8. What is the best thing about Parsippany?
It is a great place to live and raise a family. I moved to Parsippany 20 years ago to bring up my children in Glacier Hills. Like many neighborhoods in Parsippany it is a community that is intimate and safe. Parsippany has a fantastic school system, town recreation, historic places and parks.

9. What are your hobbies/interests?
My hobbies reflect my passions. I love to be outdoors, running, gardening, hiking, and botanical illustration. Since living in Parsippany, being involved in local government has become my biggest passion.

10. What is your professional background?
As a lead project engineer I was part of a team on major pollution control and highway & bridge projects.  Sewage treatment and roadway maintenance are major functions of the town. In addition to leadership, organization and communication, my success depended on bringing together groups with different and often competing agendas; I was successful. I was also responsible for contract preparation, construction oversight and funding applications, experience needed by Town Council members in their day-to-day responsibilities.

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