Current zoning board member Filipe Pedroso was unanimously chosen by the township council Tuesday to fill the position vacated by Mayor Dan Hayes.
Pedroso and residents Aaron Kurdyla and Beth Powers were chosen among six to fill the spot on the council—and the remaining council members chose the final person.
"I am excited to have the opportunity to serve Bridgewater residents," Pedroso said. "I have been active in township activities for a long time, and I am eager to work with the council and Mayor Hayes."
"I love this town, and I've been here since I was 7 years old," he added.
Council president Allen Kurdyla recused himself from the vote because candidate Aaron Kurdyla is his son.
The remaining three council members said they were pleased with the caliber of the candidates they were considering.
"We have three outstanding candidates, and I think the Republican committee did a great job of selecting," said councilman Matthew Moench. "Any one of the three would be great."
"I echo those sentiments, and I know how difficult it is to put yourself out there in this way because I did it," added councilwoman Christine Henderson Rose.
Rose was in a similar position when she filled a council seat vacated by current Somerset County Freeholder Patrick Scaglione in 2010.
With his new position, Pedroso—who will be sworn in to the council at the start of Thursday's township council meeting at 6:30 p.m.—said he will resign from his post on the zoning board. But, he said, he hopes he can bring the knowledge from that board to his new position.
"I can bring my experience on the zoning board to the township," he said. "We focus on quality of life issues, and there is no better way to protect that than with proper planning and zoning ordinances."
"And I am self-employed, so I have dealt with budget issues," he added.
Pedroso graduated with a bachelor of science in biochemistry from Rutgers University in 1992, and from Seton Hall Unversity School of Law in 1996. He is currently the owner of his own law practice.
In addition, Pedroso is a volunteer for the , and has served on the open space committee as well as with the Somerset County Young Republicans.
Pedroso said he has tried to be part of the council before, and was one of the three candidates selected by the Republican Committee when Rose was initially chosen.
"But I always wanted to be on council," he said.
And, Pedroso said, he is even looking forward to the November elections, when he can run for the first time for a year-long term.
"I have helped in other elections, from planning to door-to-door and signs, so I am familiar with the campaign process," he said. "I love talking to people, and it's an exciting process."
"I am a people person," he added. "I love finding out what is important to them, and how I can contribute."