When I saw the new 11th District Map, I decided after years of working behind the scenes, I wanted to place my name on the ballot. The new 11th Legislative District has 36,643 registered Democrats, 26,405 registered Republicans and 68,899 registered unaffiliated voters. The district is home to Asbury Park, Long Branch, Neptune, Red Bank, Freehold Borough, Tinton Falls and many other beautiful Monmouth County municipalities. Of the 18 towns in the district, 11 of those towns have 4,000 or more registered voters. Out of those 11 towns, 9 of them have more registered Democrats than Republicans, most of them overwhelmingly. 9 of the 11 big towns in the district have more registered Democrats than Republicans.
Get where I’m going with this? It is a Democratic district. Basically all the strong Democratic towns in Districts 11 and 12 got merged while all the strong Republican towns, including Wall (goodbye Sean Kean!), Rumson, Millstone, Brielle, Avon, Monmouth Beach, Sea Girt, Englishtown, Fair Haven, Little Silver (sorry Declan O’Scanlon), Manalapan, and Oceanport all got thrown into other legislative districts. It really is remarkable what happened here!
This district is for Democrats to win. It will be about raising the funds necessary to compete and turning out our base. It will be about turning out voters from nonpartisan towns like Asbury Park and Long Branch, giving them a reason to vote in November.
The incumbents are Senator Jen Beck, Assemblywoman Caroline Cassagrande and Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelni. Three good people who are gravely out of touch with this new 11th District. Poor Caroline, I don’t think even if I gave her a GPS she would know how to get to Asbury Park. You see, the challenge for Assemblywoman Cassagrande and Senator Beck is they are unknown in a big chunk of the district, which basically puts us at even playing field.
Some of you on Blue Jersey know me as an activist, somewhat of a troublemaker but may not know my background. It wasn’t long ago I stirred the pot by organizing a petition with the help of this website to make sure Senators Buono and Vitale weren’t pitted against each other. I admit, I do have a history of mixing things up, but I’m proud of that and I think that is what will be make me an effective legislator in Trenton.
I’m a small business owner – I have a chain of community magazines and newspapers covering different areas of Monmouth County. I also own a retail store in Hazlet which does embroidery, t-shirts, banners and personalized gifts. I serve as a member of the Board of Directors for the Northern Monmouth Chamber of Commerce and as President of the Hazlet Business Owners Association. I also serve on the Board of Trustees for Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Monmouth and Middlesex Counties. That is my day job. My assembly runningmate Marilyn Schlossbach is a talented restauranteur. She owns and operates several restaurants in Asbury Park, Normandy Beach and Shrewsbury, including the popular Langosta Lounge on the Asbury boardwalk. Every Thanksgiving and Christmas, she opens the doors of her restaurant to feed anyone and everyone in Asbury Park. Her philanthropy has won her recognition among her peers and customers. Marilyn also serves as the Board of Directors for the Asbury Park Chamber of Commerce and on the Board of the Asbury Park Urban Enterprise Zone. She is also very active with Clean Action Ocean and the Surfriders Foundation. Our Senate runningmate, Ray Santiago, is a former New York City prosecutor who has been a Freehold Borough attorney for the past 8 years, operating a small business that serves clients throughout Monmouth County. He is very involved in the Monmouth County Bar Association, the cub scouts and other organizations in our community.
The three of us are business owners, not politicians and we share a sense of values that will shake New Jersey government up.
In the upcoming weeks, we will launch a website and formally launch our campaign. In the mean time, we are aggressively fundraising to put out strong numbers for the quarter.
We will be welcoming Congressman Jared Polis, the first openly gay man elected to Congress, to our district on May 26th. The three of us stand united behind our brothers and sisters who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. Unlike the incumbent, Senator Jennifer Beck, who voted against marriage equality, who probably never realized she would ever be representing communities like Ocean Grove and Asbury Park now (regretting that vote yet Jen?) – we stand for values of equality for all New Jerseyians.
Imagine what happens to Governor Christie when halfway through his term, Democrats once again get elected to the legislature from Monmouth County – the same county he stomped all over 2 years ago. If we get in, we will build to make sure Chris Christie does not walk all over us again in 2013.
During the next several weeks and months, we will be updating you on our race and our campaign to stand up for Democratic principles. We hope you will join us! We can’t win this race without you!