Long Branch — On Tuesday, Councilman and small business owner John Pallone declared as a candidate for Long Branch Mayor. The election, which will be held on May 8, is for both Mayor and Council.
Pallone had been expected to enter the race, but this announcement makes it official. Pallone is the first candidate to declare with a full slate of five council candidates. They are running under the slogan “Long Branch First.”
Pallone is running with Council candidates Dr. Mary Jane Celli, Bill Dangler, Rose DeMarco Widdis, Mario Vieira and Dr. Anita Voogt, who together represent years of experience in community service, education, and business.
“My running mates are leaders, people who are respected and trusted, with the ability to bring people together and get things done. They reflect the strength and expertise of the Long Branch community,” said Pallone.
Council Candidate Dr. Mary Jane Celli commented, “Each and every one of us will use our unique perspective and experience to solve the problems of Long Branch. Collectively, we are educators, veterans, business owners, parents, union members, volunteers and community leaders. We serve on the school board and PTA, raise money for local charities and are working to improve our neighborhoods.”
Pallone and his running mates described some of the issues they will emphasize in the upcoming campaign.
Pallone explained, “We need to do a better job negotiating agreements with developers. As mayor, I will go to the negotiating table and always put the interests of Long Branch first. I will only support agreements that benefit all of Long Branch and I will make sure Long Branch jobs go to Long Branch residents.
Continued Pallone, “Development in Long Branch must not focus on the oceanfront only. We need a mayor and council who will look out for the entire community.”
Pallone and his team also pointed to examples of wasteful spending, such as the attempt to purchase “hi-tech” trash cans for $8,000 per can. The $266,000 purchase was blocked by Councilman Pallone.
Bill Dangler commented, “Taxpayers work hard for their money. Our team will work hard to make sure it isn’t wasted.”
Another issue put forward by the Pallone team is the need to clean up abandoned properties. Council Candidate Rose DeMarco Widdis commented, “Abandoned properties and absentee landlords are destroying the character of our neighborhoods. If the landlords and banks won’t clean up the properties we will – then we will send them the bill.”
The election will be held on May 8, and polls will be open 6 a.m to 8 p.m.
Pallone will be challenging incumbent Mayor Adam Schneider, who announced he would be running for another term in May. Schneider’s team includes incumbent councilmembers Joy Bastelli, Kate Billings, and Michael Sirianni and Adam Ponsi.
Pallone team background
Long Branch City Council Member; Vice-President, Long Branch Public Library Board of Trustees; Volunteer EMT, Long Branch & Elberon First Aid Squads; Vice-President, Gregory School PTA; Graduate of NYU and City University (Masters in Public Administration); Active Member of Holy Name Society, Christ the King Parish in Long Branch; Small Business Owner, media production company; Lifelong resident of Long Branch
Dr. Mary Jane Celli
Long Branch Councilwoman (1994 to present); Korean War Veteran, United State Air Force; Member, VFW, Elks, Korean War Veteran Post 216, American Legion; Doctorate from Temple University, Masters from University of Virginia; Past President, Long Branch Woman’s Club; Past President, NJ Federation of National Active and Retired Federal Employees; Christ the King parishioner and member of Rosary Altar Society
Long Branch School Board President, Member (2006-present); Senior Investigator, Monmouth County Division of Social Services; President, Long Branch NAACP (2000-present); Member, 2nd Baptist Church of Long Branch; Coach and Board Member, Long Branch Pop Warner; Volunteer, Band Parents Association (2005-2009); Lifelong resident of Long Branch
Rose DeMarco Widdis
Member and Past President, Long Branch Board of Education; Star of the Sea Church Lector, 1984-2003 ; Latino American Society of Monmouth, 2017 Honoree; PTO/A Community Council Past President; Office manager and bookkeeper, local accounting firm; Lifelong resident of Long Branch
Union Mason and Foreman, Bricklayers Local 4; Past President and Member, Long Branch Portuguese Club; Coach, Long Branch Traveling Soccer (2001-2007); Vice President, Chop Riderz; Parishioner, Christ of King Parish in Long Branch; 43 Year Resident of Long Branch
Dr. Anita Voogt
Executive Dean, Brookdale Community College; Senior Executive, Brookdale Education Center at Long Branch ; Board Member, Oceanview Towers Condo Association; Member, Save Ocean Ave, supporting boardwalk safety and recreation; World’s Quiet Hero Award, Heroic Imagination Project (2013); 17 Year Resident of Long Branch