Town Council member TJ Cawley announced Tuesday that he would challenge incumbent Mark Stohlman in November’s mayoral race.
Cawley, a registered Democrat, was first elected to the Morrisville council in 2013. He has publicly disagreed with Stohlman, who was elected mayor the same year, about a variety of issues, including town spending, council district maps and rezoning cases.
Stohlman, a registered Republican, said in the spring that he would run for re-election.
Cawley has criticized the council under Stohlman as unambitious and over-concerned with keeping spending down for its own sake, rather than investing more aggressively in projects – particularly road improvements – that he thinks could improve the town.
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“I believe we need a leader who is aspirational, who wants to do more than just finish what we’ve started,” Cawley said in an interview Tuesday. “It’s great to go ahead and complete projects, but that’s the job of the staff and town manager. We need a leader.”
He also said he would want to make Morrisville “a sustainable, technologically forward-looking town.”
New council district maps approved in February put Cawley in a district with Councilwoman Liz Johnson, whose term won’t expire until 2019. That left Cawley, whose term expires this year, with the choice of either running for mayor or challenging for one of two at-large seats if he wanted to remain in office.
He cast the lone vote against the new maps.
Cawley, a New York native, is retired from a career in finance and has three children. He moved to Morrisville 10 years ago.
Before serving on Morrisville’s town council, he served on the town’s environmental and public safety advisory committees. He was also treasurer for the town’s Community Emergency Response Team.
Gargan: 919-829-4807; @hgargan