Senator Jennifer Beck announced that she has selected Ocean Township Deputy Mayor Rob Acerra and Red Bank Councilman Michael Whelan as the Assembly candidates who will seek to unseat rookie Democrat Assembly members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey in the 11th legislative district this November.
Before a crowd of over 600 Republicans at the annual Monmouth GOP Lincoln Day dinner in Freehold Township on Friday night, Beck thanked the many potential candidates who she interviewed for the GOP nominations for Assembly in the 11th legislative district and announce that she, Acerra and Whelan would start their door to door campaign the following morning.
“I’m privileged to announce the rest of the District 11 team. I’ve devoted my time in public service to fighting for Monmouth County families and I’m pleased that I will joined by two Assembly candidates who have done the same in Deputy Mayor Acerra and Councilman Whelan. We look forward to sharing our vision for Monmouth County, one in which we must adequately fund our school districts to ease our local property tax burdens, fight unreasonable affordable housing formulas and protect our quality of life” said Beck.
Acerra, 52, was elected to the Ocean Township Council in a non-partisan in 2015 with the support of Mayor Christopher Siciliano. Prior to his election to the Council, Acerra served two terms of the Township’s Board of Education. He is married to Rose Acerra and they have three adult sons. A graduate of Montclair State University, the Deputy Mayor earns his living as a national accounts manager for Carousel Industries, a large privately held technology integrator.
Acerra told MMM that his biggest accomplishment as a member of the Ocean Township Council is holding the line on property taxes while maintaining or improving municipal services. He said he and his colleagues on the governing body are working toward reducing property taxes by up to 10% in the upcoming budget.
Whelan, 25, single, is a 2014 graduate of Manhattan College and a 2010 graduate of Christian Brothers Academy. He is an Account Executive in the property and casualty insurance industry where he services commercial accounts and small businesses. He defeated long time incumbent Michael Dupont for a seat on the Red Bank Council in 2015.
The councilman said that in his 14 months on the Red Bank governing body, he has led the effort to tackle tough issues that had been lingering for many years without progress. He cited two parking plans the borough has implemented, a new redevelopment plan and an additional K-9 Officer for the Police Department.
“I take great pride in my ability to reach across the aisle and get things done for Monmouth County. Legislators discussed the possibility of dredging the Shark River for 20 years – that project is now nearing completion. I vocally opposed and organized the citizens’ opposition to New Jersey’s gasoline tax increase, starting a petition that garnered over 20,000 signatures and hosted rallies all over my district. Underfunded school districts are a problem across the State, I have been able to secure additional funds for Red Bank and Freehold Borough. My office has personally assisted hundreds of individuals after Superstorm Sandy who were looking for guidance in the rebuilding process. My office has worked in tandem with the numerous non profits created in the district to reach out to Sandy-effected homeowners and get them back in their homes.
“With the election of Deputy Mayor Acerra and Councilman Whelan to the State Assembly, I will have two partners to expand on all of the good work we do for Monmouth County residents. I look forward to serving with these tremendous candidates” concluded Beck.
Beck, Acerra and Whelan will be unopposed for the Monmouth GOP endorsements in the 11th district and the GOP nominating convention on March 18th at iPlayAmerica in Freehold Township.