My name is Justin Annunziata and I have written previously to this publication. At 17 years old, I am a lifelong resident of Vernon Township and have been actively involved in following, volunteering, and participating in municipal, county, state, and national politics since the 2008 Presidential Elections.
On Tuesday, November 5th, the people of New Jersey went to the polls and made their voices clear. Across the board, from Governor Chris Christie to Surrogate Gary Chiusano, to Freeholders Richard Vohden and George Graham, to our legislators Allison McHose, Parker Space and Steve Oroho, the people of New Jersey and Sussex County rejected the politics and policies of the New Jersey Democratic Party, and reaffirmed their confidence in our elected, and accomplished, public officials.
In the Township Council election of Vernon, New Jersey, the voters were presented with a record and a choice. The three incumbent councilmen, Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel, and Eddie Dunn, had an indisputably, unequivocally exceptional record of their achievements from over the last two years. Namely, having lowered taxes two years in a row without a decrease in services, and paying down three million dollars in township debt, the incumbent councilmen certainly proved their worth. On election night the people of Vernon spoke loudly and clearly, making the right choice in reelecting two of the incumbent councilmen, Patrick Rizzuto and Dick Wetzel, continuing to place their trust in this Mayor and Council. Unfortunately, Councilman Eddie Dunn was not reelected on Tuesday evening, and this is a great loss for the people of Vernon. Councilwoman-elect Jean Murphy, who will be replacing Councilmen Dunn, surely deserves congratulations on her hard-fought victory. It is my hope that Councilwoman-elect Murphy will allow politics to fall to the sidelines, and will work with Mayor Marotta and the other members of the Township Council in continuing to move the township forward.
As for the Vernon Board of Education election, it is unfortunate that Robert Oliver was not elected on Tuesday evening, as his platform of open dialogue, fiscal responsibility, and innovative thinking is sorely needed. Nonetheless, the reelected incumbent candidates John McGowan and David Zweier, and newly elected Lori Lepera are all qualified, well-intentioned, and hard working. I have little doubt they will serve the people of Vernon well, over the next three years.
Tuesday, November 5th, was a victory in the State of New Jersey, Sussex County and Vernon Township. Regardless of the outcomes of each and every election, it is this complicated, convoluted and beautiful democratic system that makes America the great nation that it is. At the end of the day, the people elected candidates who will work for the betterment of their government, and they made their voices heard. One thing is for sure… the people are not willing to go back to where we were, just four short years ago.