By Patty Booth O’Neill
“I do want to tell you why I’m running for mayor and some of the issues we’ll be talking about during our campaign,” John Pallone told his supporters at a packed IAMA on Tuesday night.
“First and foremost we are running because we can do better and you deserve better. We represent all the people of Long Branch, we want to be open, responsive and inclusive… we want to listen, learn and lead,” he said.
Pallone talked about future developments in the city. “We will negotiate better deals with developers. Local jobs, local workers and training programs are a non-negotiable part of any future project.”
He promised to keep the streets clean and to clean up abandoned properties. “Absentee landlords and banks must be held accountable. And we’re going to stop wasteful spending,” he said.
He spoke about initiative projects in the city that are already working nationwide, such as Shop and Dine locally and receive tax rebates. Pallone spoke about a Citizen’s Service Center, a new website and help line that will help residents with basic services and save them a trip to City Hall.
Pallone introduced running mates:
Mario Vieira as a past president of the Long Branch Portuguese Club, foreman of Bricklayers Union No. 4, and from one of the largest families in Long Branch, with 15 brothers and sisters.”
Anita Voogt is Executive Dean at Brookdale Community College, and heads all satellite campuses. She admitted that out of all the sites that report to her Long Branch is her favorite. She is also active on the Save Ocean Avenue Committee.
Voogt said her experience is a little different from life-long Long Branch residents. “I have lived in Long Branch for 18 years and I’m thankful for the opportunity to give back,” she said.
Dr. Mary Jane Celli was introduced as a champion for seniors and veterans and an advocate for public safety. She has served on council for 12 years.“As you know I’m running for city council again and it has been my pleasure to serve you over the years,” Dr. Celli said. “Long Branch is a dynamic city that requires change, experience, hard work and good leadership.”
Bill Dangler is the current president of the Long Branch Board of Education and president of the Long Branch NAACP for over 18 years. “He is a voice for young people, “ Pallone said.
“We’re just humble people that want to work hard for the city,” said Dangler. He promised that if he wins he will keep all of Long Branch first, not West End or North Long Branch or the beachfront. “We want to make sure big business doesn’t take our tax dollars out of the city,”
Dangler is also an senior investigator for Monmouth County Division of Social Services.
Rose Widdis is past president and a current member of the Long Branch Board of Education. She has been honored by numerous local and county organizations for her years of community service and volunteerism.
“I’ve been on the Board of Education for 19 years, and I hope to bring my experience along with me,” said Widdis.
“We have a wonderful group of people that together represent years of experience in community service, education and business,” Pallone said. “All are trusted and respected leaders in the community.”