For the first time since 2005, Dave Kenny’s name won’t appear next to Dennis Pone’s on a ballot for Hamilton Township council.
Kenny decided, after nearly 12 years on council, to not seek re-election this November. Instead, the Hamilton Republicans nominated a new-look slate of Pone, Dina Thornton and Gino Melone. Kenny will step down in January, after his current term expires. He said he feels confident that Pone, Thornton and Melone will be able to continue to hold a Republican majority in Hamilton.
While Pone—currently the council president—has served since 2005, the two other candidates are looking to win their first full term on township council. Thornton, a former school board member, was appointed to the council earlier this year to replace Ed Gore, who left to become the township’s public defender. Melone is a former councilman in Trenton and previously served on the Hamilton Township Economic Development Advisory Commission.
Kenny said deciding not to seek re-election was a difficult decision he has thought about over the last couple years.
“I’m proud of everything we’ve accomplished, but I felt it was a good time for me personally and professional to move on,” Kenny said. “I’m 63 now, and with the demands of my law practice [Kenny Chase & Costa] it makes it more and more difficult to say on the council,” he said.
Kenny was part of the 2005 Republican takeover in Hamilton. Together with Pone and former councilman Tom Goodwin, the three candidates won seats on the council and secured a Republican majority that Democrats have yet to be able to win back. The council has been all-Republican since 2008.
Hamilton Democrats have nominated Jeff Martin, Anthony Carabelli Jr. and Rick Tighe to challenge the Republicans in the upcoming November election.
However, Kenny believes the policies he helped to implement over the last 12 years have been popular with Hamilton residents, and they will in turn continue to support the Republican party.
“I think what we’re most proud of is the fact that we put the township back on a solid financial footing because it did go through very difficult times,” Kenny said. “We have fewer employees now than we did eight years ago, we have more police on the street than we did eight years ago.”
When asked what he wish he had accomplished while in office, Kenny said the council can always do more to encourage more businesses—especially small businesses—to open up shop in Hamilton.
“I think we are constantly looking for ways to make the township more consumer friendly,” he said. “You can always do more, but we’ve already limited limited unnecessary license fees and regulations.”
Kenny added that it has been an honor to serve the people of Hamilton alongside Mayor Kelly Yaede and the other council members.