#childsafety | Election Profile: Bashir Mohammad For Manalapan Twp Committee

MANALAPAN, NJ – This November, there are two seats open on the Township Committee: Mayor John McNaboe and Deputy Mayor Susan Cohen, both Republicans, will seek to keep their seats. Democratic candidates Lawrence Furman and Bashir Mohammad will be challenging the incumbents for the spots this November.

Mohammad attended medical school in Ukraine and currently serves as the co-founder of the Healthcare Training Institute in Union, New Jersey. He’s been a Manalapan resident for 25 years.

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Why are you seeking a seat on the Township Committee:

Susan Cohen and Jack McNaboe have been on the Manalapan Township Committee for a long time. Their approach seems to be, “Business as usual is fine. We don’t need to change anything.” Frankly, I don’t know what they have accomplished. Meanwhile, seniors are moving out and many of our adult children can’t afford to move in, unless they live with their parents. If elected, I will always present the facts and all sides of issues in a transparent manner. I will listen to concerns from every perspective, and every angle, including opposing views.

What is the single most pressing issue facing Manalapan and what will you do about it?

Our children and grandchildren need to be challenged in school, need training in STEM, Science, Technology, English, and Math, as well as the arts, music, and sports, and need to be engaged in the curriculum. Good teachers need to be rewarded.

I believe we should be expanding recreational opportunities such as playgrounds for cricket, skate parks, after school activities for our children, and vocational opportunities for high school students and high school graduates.

Some of these can generate revenues. Vocational programs should be explored by the Board of Education and should be funded with NJ and federal monies. And of course, students who graduate with technical skills can support themselves and help their families, alleviating the burden on their parents while they pursue their dreams.

I would also like to use the town’s Facebook page, or the Internet to survey Manalapan’s residents to better understand the needs of the community and grievances they might have.

What are the critical differences between you and the other candidates?

I also agree with Larry Furman on deploying solar energy on public properties, and using the methane generated at the WMUA sewage treatment facilities to generate electricity.

I don’t know where Susan and Jack stand on anything other than “Business as usual is great.” And I disagree. “Business as Usual” does not address new challenges. And “Business as Usual” leads to higher taxes.

In addition, the Manalapan Township Committee should be more transparent and more accountable to residents. Most of us work very hard. But occasionally we all need clarification or help with the details. It is not sufficient for the members of the governing body to say, “We answer to you.” They have to ask for input, listen, and respond.

Describe the other issues that define your campaign platform:

Streamlining Regulatory Compliance. The Zoning Board and the Planning Board should facilitate development, not obstruct it.

Marijuana Legalization is on the ballot. I am for it. Legalizing marijuana will save taxpayers money because we won’t be spending money on law enforcement, trials, and incarceration. And it will generate revenue as we tax marijuana sales. It will be good for the economy as cannabis users will be able to lead productive lives, pay income, real estate, and sales taxes. As a member of the Township Committee I will demand that tax revenues be distributed equitably across the state, not simply accrue to the municipalities in which cannabis is farmed or sold.

What accomplishments in your past would you cite as evidence you will be effective on the Township Committee?

I came to the United States with nothing but my clothes and my education; worked as a laborer and night cook for minimum wage. Within a few years I was able to co-found the ACCSC accredited Healthcare Training Institute. I am very proud of the fact that we train 100 to 200 people per year who are very productive citizens. I am an active volunteer in the ACCSC, the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges. As such, I visit other schools twice per year to verify that they operate in compliance with regulations and standards as set by the US DoE, NJ DoE, NJ DoL, and other accreditors.

The best advice ever shared with me was:

Victoria and I got married when we were students. Our son was born in the USSR. Because he was not “pure Russian” he had a rough time in pre-school and kindergarten. He faced bullying from other students and discrimination from teachers. It was worse in Pakistan. The Mujahadin, now called the Taliban, was fighting the Soviet Army. But every Russian and everyone with Russian friends was an enemy. I was told that if I returned home with my Russian wife and Russian son we would be targeted for kidnapping and assassination. The fact that we both were medical doctors committed to helping people didn’t make a difference.

My parents and my friends said “go to America.” They were right. It was the only place on earth we could be accepted.

What else would you like voters to know about yourself and your positions?

I am a first generation American and a self-made man. I set my goals and work hard to achieve them. I earned a scholarship, studied, and became a doctor. I could not practice medicine in the United States, and started at the bottom of the career ladder as a laborer and cook. I worked hard, started “Healthcare Training Institute” in 1998, and now have 15 employees. Together, we train and graduate 100 to 200 medical professionals each year; 100 to 200 people who go on to serve their community.

In Healthcare Training Institute we look several years down the road; on the Township Committee we must look 10 to 20 to 50 years into the future.

I have two grown children. My daughter went to Manalapan schools, graduated from Drexel University, and has just completed Medical School. She has been working, along side my wife, with COVID patients in Brooklyn, NY. Recently married, my daughter and my son-in-law are expecting their first child in March. I am proud of her. I am also proud of my son, who graduated from Montclair.

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