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NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Five candidates, including three current Board of Education members hoping to keep their seats, have filed to run in the upcoming April 19 election.

If all of the candidates' petitions are approved, it could the first time since in three years that there will be a contested election for any public office within the City of New Brunswick.

Incumbents Patricia Sadowski, Benito Ortiz, and Jennifer Shukaitis will face off against Yesenia Medina-Hernandez and Joel Martinez, if their petitions to get on the ballot are approved.

Martinez is a recent Rutgers graduate who lives in The Aspire, a highrise apartment complex on Somerset Street, and works for the Puerto Rican Action Board (PRAB), one of several city-based non-profit organizations.

Medina-Hernandez, a resident of the section of Jersey Avenue near Lincoln Gardens, works at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH).  She was one of five candidates that submitted their resumes for a vacant position on the board in 2015.

Sadowski, a nurse at RWJUH who lives in the Rutgers Village neighborhood, and Ortiz, a retired county worker living in Renaissance Station, are two of the longest-serving members of the volunteer board.

Shukaitis, a resident of the Buccleuch Park neighborhood, was appointed to replace Rutgers professor John Krenos, who resigned roughly two years into his three-year term.  She also works for Rutgers University.

Sadowski, Ortiz, and Krenos prevailed in the second-ever New Brunswick school board election over three challengers that included the publisher of this newspaper.

In 2012, New Brunswick voters decided to change to a nine-member elected school board, with three seats are up for election each and every April.

But after two contested campaigns in 2013, the next two years saw no contested elections, as no one but the candidates supported by the establishment filed to run.

Likewise, no one ran against any of the incumbent City Council members and Mayor James Cahill coasted to seventh term in the city's highest office with no opposition during the same time period.

Editor at New Brunswick Today | 732-993-9697 |

Charlie is the founder and editor of New Brunswick Today, and the winner of the Awbrey Award for Community-Oriented Local Journalism. He is a proud Rutgers University journalism graduate and a community organizer, and an independent candidate for Mayor of New Brunswick.