Montclair Election 2024: Erik D'Amato Sets Sights On Town Council Seat

MONTCLAIR, NJ — What does the Montclair Township Council need most as it prepares to reboot this election season? According to Erik D’Amato, the answer is simple: more “regular folk.”

Montclair will have a municipal election on Tuesday, May 14. In total, seven seats will be up for grabs: mayor, two at-large council members, and a council member in each of the four wards. See the election timeline, ward maps and other important information here.

This year’s candidates include two slates – “Together Montclair” and the “Montclair Good Government Team” – and several independents, including D’Amato, who is running for a seat in the First Ward.

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D’Amato recently shared more about his background and platform with Patch. Learn more below, or visit his campaign website.

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Find out what's happening in Montclairwith free, real-time updates from Patch.

PATCH: What background or professional experience qualifies you for the job?

D’AMATO: Running for and serving on the Council is a logical extension of my previous civic work in Montclair, especially the effort to create an independently-elected school board. I have also been among those who pay close attention to the work of the Council and municipal government, tracking and regularly speaking up on proposed ordinances and contracts, and related policy questions.

My professional background as a journalist and consultant is also relevant, as I have worked with numerous governments here and abroad, and international organizations such as the World Bank.

But that said, I reckon that many of our current problems flow from having a council dominated by people whose day jobs involve Jersey politics, instead of regular folk with an interest in civics, and a desire to serve.

PATCH: What is your campaign platform? What are your priorities if elected?

D’AMATO: First and foremost my priority is to end the “pay-to-play” practices and other forms of soft and not-so-soft corruption and authoritarian behavior that we have unfortunately seen so much of in recent years. This will take work, because such bad habits become ingrained in the governing culture of a place, whether it is here in New Jersey or in one of the developing countries I have spent much of my career in. But this work is necessary, because everything else we might want our Township government to do hinges on whether it is honest, accountable, and transparent.

Beyond that, I have a long list of things I am interested in, both for the First Ward and township-wide, ranging from traffic safety and sharing of PILOT revenue to aging-in-place and the possibilities for new recreation facilities. As I meet with residents the list of priorities and concerns gets longer, and I will be exploring many of them on my website as the campaign goes on.

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