Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon led the effort to terminate New Jersey’s Red Light Camera Program.
O’Scanlon and Co. have been relentless in monitoring the Red Light Camera Program and telling the truth about it. They have hired independent experts to investigate complaints and document fraud within the program. They have sorted through data that has regularly been obfuscated by the red light camera companies (and bureaucrats friendly to them) to reflect improved safety conditions at RCL intersections where in fact conditions had often worsened. They have worked hard in getting the word out about the program’s failure and corruption. They have countered expensive advertising campaigns by the red light camera companies and countered expensive lobbyists working the halls of the Statehouse, without the benefit of the profits the red light camera companies stole from the motoring public to fund their efforts.
In thwarting the Red Light Camera Program’s renewal, O’Scanlon has proved himself to be “the real deal”….a leader who fights for the right thing because it is the right thing. He is an example of what a “public servant” should be.
Christine Giordano Hanlon
Dubbed The Architect by Monmouth GOP Chairman Shaun Golden, Hanlon designed Golden’s defeat of John Bennett for leadership of the County Party, avenging her razor thin 3 vote defeat by Bennett in 2012. By building a coalition of previous regional rivals and splitting Bennett’s 2012 coalition, which he failed to nourish, Hanlon demonstrated strategic leadership without seeking the limelight or accolades.
Hanlon has picked up where she left off during the Chairmanship of Joe Oxley as the behind the scenes glue of the Party. As Regional Vice Chair and State Committeewoman, Hanlon has fostered a culture of teamwork that brings strong leaders together as partners instead of natural rivals.
The Howell Republican Party is united and that is remarkable given the history of divisiveness. Malave is the new Chairman and leader of the municipal party . Along with County Vice Chair and Deputy Mayor Rob Nicastro, Malave has built a team that serves Howell very well and that has become a critical cog in the County GOP infrastructure.
Congressman Frank Pallone
Re-elected to his 14th term in the House of Representitives, Pallone also won a leadership battle to become the ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, beating Nancy Pelosi’s favored candidate for the post. Most remarkably, Pallone had two bills signed into law by President Obama this month. Pallone’s legislative accomplishments are remarkable because 1) he is a harshly partisan member of the Democratic minority and 2) he’s only had 6 other bills signed into law in his 26 year career….two that named post offices.
Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty
When Belmar voters rejected a bonding referendum that Doherty supported last August, Belmar Republicans thought they had a change to unseat the popular mayor. Doherty prevailed with an 11% victory in November. But that is not what puts Doherty on the winners list. Dragged into the Bridgegate scandal by Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer’s allegations against Governor Chris Christie, Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno and Department of Community Affairs Commissioner Richard Constable, Doherty deftly managed to defend the Christie Administration players without throwing Zimmer under the bus and without alienating his support within the Democratic Party.
Doherty managed to maintain his friendship with Christie without endorsing the Governor in 2013, unlike Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich and Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop and without alienating Monmouth County Democrats, like Sea Bright Mayor Dina Long who left the Party over Chairman Vin Gopal’s reaction to her relationship with Christie.
Governor Chris Christie
The Governor ended 2013 with a 60% + reelection victory and as the front runner for the 2016 GOP Presidential nomination. The Bridgegate scandal, the sluggish New Jersey economy, and the federal bureaucracy’s choke hold on the purse strings to Superstorm Sandy recovery knocked the wheels off Christie’s first term accomplishments and the rationale for his 2016 candidacy. Despite his record breaking fund raising record and electoral victories as Chairman of the Republican Governors Association, Christie ends the year as a second tier candidate for the GOP nomination in most independent polls and daunting economic and fiscal challenges in New Jersey threaten to derail his legacy in New Jersey and his presidential ambitions.
The Monmouth Democratic Chairman had the hardest working freeholder candidates in decades, hundreds of thousands in special interest and Trenton Democratic money and a rock star U.S. Senator on top of the ballot, but squandered the opportunity and resources with a negative and false message of GOP corruption that Monmouth County voters have been rejecting for years.
Three weeks after the polls closed, Gopal tried to re-litigate the election with an OpEd pitting Brookdale Community College against Monmouth County’s nursing homes. A campaign based on those issues would have served Monmouth County much better than the nonsense Gopal put forward.
Marlboro Mayor Jon Hornik
The popular Marlboro mayor put his name on the line for the Monmouth Democratic freeholder candidates with endorsement letters and attempted to export his brand of “New Democratic Leadership” that wins municipal offices in otherwise Republican towns to Manalapan and came up short on both counts. Republican Freeholders Lillian Burry and Gary Rich prevailed in Marlboro and the GOP won big in Manalapan.
There were many more winners and losers in 2014, this list is far from comprehensive. Feel free to add your own in the comments.
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Happy New Year!
~ Art Gallagher