As part of his October campaign for running for Greenwich Township council, Republican candidate Bob Chew has been going door-to-door talking to residents about the various changes he is looking to make if he is elected.
On his travels, Chew has met many people who are unemployed and can barely afford to keep their homes. They look at him, almost desperate for an answer to their issues.
“I walk all through this town,” Chew said, “and what I find is people, standing at their doorstep and asking me, 'What can you do for me? I need help.'”
What they then find out is that Chew could face that very same reality himself in just a few short months.
Chew is currently a homicide detective for the Camden City Police Department. He is a 23-year veteran on the force and has spent the last 15 years working with the Camden PD. He helped solve the case that led to the arrest of Juan Law in West Deptford last week.
With the advent of the Camden County Metro Police force approaching quickly, Chew is unsure what his future holds.
“I have 23 years on me,” he said. “It's very disappointing to me that I'm so close to the end of my rainbow. I only have two years to go and I may get laid off. It's disheartening, it's sad, but I'm going to work every day like it's my last day. It's an honor and privilege to be a Camden cop.”
Chew has a different view of Camden than most of the general public. He says that Camden is not a "lost" city, but rather a city where the people simply lack the regular necessities to live.
“There are some great people in that city, and that's who I work for,” he said. “There are some people who can't get out of their house and that makes me sad.”
“Until the day that Camden City tells me that I'm not a cop, I'm going to work my behind off, because I really want to help people become better people and let them know that I'm not writing them off. They're not the worst people in the world to me.”
Chew wants to bring the same attitude that he has for his job to Greenwich Township council. He believes that his experiences in Camden will help him out with dealing with the rigors of local government. Part of his job as a detective is an ability to talk to witnesses or suspects about a crime scene. Those skills have helped make the transition to running for Council much easier.
The big issue in Greenwich Township is taxes, according to Chew. A chart from the South Jersey Times indicates that Greenwich Township has the largest tax rate in Gloucester County.
“In Gibbstown alone, we're facing 10.18 percent,” he said. “In 2012, we have the highest percent in the county. We're also facing a reassessment this year, so we could see taxes increase by 40 percent in one year, which is really, really unheard of.”
Chew's connection with the local residents is the key to his campaign, he says. He speaks of going through the different neighborhoods and talking to residents, old and young. This is what he says makes him different from his opponents.
“My opponents aren't even walking to the door this year,” he said. “They're not walking because they don't want to answer why their taxes have increased. If you can't walk a town and knock on someone's door, how can you expect them to vote for you then?”
“I don't think you can walk into someone's house and say 'Hi, I'm Bob Chew, I'm running for office,'” he said. “You have to say, 'Hi, I'm Bob Chew, I'm running for office and this is the reason why. These are my plans.'”
Part of Chew's connection with the Greenwich residents can be found on Facebook. On his campaign page, he invites residents to ask any question they'd like. He said that's he's answered every question and will continue to answer every question through the election and beyond.
Having lost only by 50 votes in the last election, Chew believes he has what it takes the get over the hump this time around. As one door may close very soon in his work with the Camden Police Department, another one may open in a matter of weeks.