By Art Gallagher
Former Democratic Assemblyman and tri-CityNews publisher Dan Jacobson has filed his petition to run for Assembly in the 11th legislative district as an Independent.
Jacobson’s candidacy creates a five way race for two Assembly seats. The Republican candidates are incumbents Caroline Casagrande and Mary Pat Angelini. The Democratic candidates are restaurateur Marilyn Schlossbach and publisher Vin Gopal.
Jacobson said told MMM that his candidacy is not a reflection upon his opponents, but on the process. “Legislative elections in Monmouth County are stale and rarely competitive,” said Jacobson, “this is an opportunity for me to say my peace in a way that most candidates can’t because they are beholden to their party and special interests. If I can do that and perhaps make the race more interesting and competitive, that in itself will be a public service.”
Jacobson considers himself a Libertarian on economic and social issues. He said economic issues are paramount in this race. School vouchers are an example of where he thinks both parties have failed the public.
“What is an more important issue for the poor than educating their children? When I was last ran for the Assembly in 1993 I advocated starting a voucher program in the urban districts and then phasing them in throughout the state. Since then the Republicans have had control and the Democrats have had control and there has been no improvement with how we educate our kids.”
Public employees unions are another area of government that Jacobson wants to reform. “It is wrong that unions are collecting mandatory dues from our public employees and using that money for political purposes. Unions should set up PACs and let their members contribute voluntarily is they so choose.”
Of his opponents, only Angelini returned a call for comment. “Dan is a friend. I welcome him into the race and look forward to hearing his take on the issues,” said Angelini, ” I think there will be many common themes between us.”
“I don’t understand why he is doing this,” said Monmouth County Democratic Chairman Vic Scudiery, “Dan should worry about his newspaper.” Scudiery was chairman when Jacobson last served in the Assembly.
Jacobson filed 77 signatures with his petition. He said he was told that 50 are required.