ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS – Longtime Planning Board member Brian Dougherty is seeking elected office for the first time, vying for one of two council seats to be decided in the November election.
He will be competing for one of the two terms against GOP candidates incumbent Councilman James Murphy and newcomer Ellen O’Dwyer. Neither party faces a challenge in the June primary but are all on the ballot for that election.
Democrat Councilman Roy Dellosso who has served on the governing body 15 years, decided not to seek another term.
Born in Pottsville, PA. the son of a registered nurse, who was also a union representative, and a mechanic for Reading Anthracite, Dougherty attended Westminster Choir College in Princeton, earning a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education and Vocal Performance. He shares his professional time between two careers, both as an employee in board relations and academic programs at The Rockefeller University in Manhattan, and as a professional singer, for which he maintains a website at https://www.bridoc.com.
He and his wife, Erin, a member of the local Board of Education, have been married 13 years and have two daughters and a son ranging in age from five to ten years of age.
The family moved from Hoboken to Atlantic Highlands almost ten years ago. They had discovered Atlantic Highlands in 2008 when they had a wedding rehearsal dinner at Julia’s restaurant, and stayed at the Blue Bay Inn, immediately falling love with the community and knowing the wanted to move here. When the birth of their second child necessitated moving to larger quarters, they purchased their home on Center Ave. and planted their family roots in this Bayshore community. With the birth of their third child and the need for still larger quarters, they expanded that home, further settling their firmly established roots in the borough.
Dougherty said he is running for council because of this love for the community as the ideal place to raise a family. But, he said, but has become frustrated with political discourse and recognized a caustic and divisive tone at the local level which he feels mirrors national politics, allowing him to see the need to become more pro-active. Having served on the local Planning Board since 2017, he appreciates how committee volunteers work in a non-partisan way to benefit the community and wanted to play a more active role.
Preservation of open space, balancing the need for both capital investment in infrastructure while maintaining as low a tax rate as possible are the greatest challenges the borough faces now, he thinks, but added that because of its waterfront location, borough leaders must also face the impact climate change will have on the area half a century from now. He also is a strong supporter and would continue and look to increase the current commitment to road maintenance and improvements.
Dougherty also serves on the borough’s Communications and Technology Committee which continues to find better ways to keep residents informed and connected. He feels he can be successful in reaching out to leaders in public and private sectors to bring new perspectives to these challenges. He also serves on the Environmental Commission, and the Plan Approval Advisory Committee, as well as the Board of Directors of Sandy Hook Little League, and coaches both tee ball and in the borough’s recreation soccer program.
“I do my homework,” the candidate said. “ I’m ready to step in on January 1, 2022, prepared to do the work on behalf of all Atlantic Highlands residents.”