By Joe Hadden
These days it seems that in order to oppose someone politically, it is necessary to “ist” them. If they disagree with you they must be a fascist, communist, racist, sexist, socialist, etc. I don’t need to do that to voice my opposition to Assembly members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey. Demonizing them is not necessary.
Mr. Houghtaling and Ms. Downey are not evil, they’re just incompetent as elected representatives. They voted yes on a budget that took state aid away from many school districts in LD11, including Ocean Township. During the LD11 debate, Mr. Houghtaling was asked if New Jersey should become a Sanctuary State since his party’s candidate for Governor said it should. Mr. Houghtaling responded that he didn’t have an opinion on the issue. I dare say he might be the only person in New Jersey who doesn’t. He still hasn’t come up with an answer.
Looking forward, these two expect to solve the school funding formula problem by making it someone else’s responsibility. They want to create a commission to handle the problem; all but admitting that the New Jersey State Legislature is not capable of handling this responsibility, or at least that the two sitting Assembly members from LD11 aren’t.
If Mr. Houghtaling and Ms. Downey want to turn over their responsibilities to others. Let them. Elect Rob Acerra Sr., Ocean Township’s Deputy Mayor, and Red Bank Councilman Michael Whelan to the Assembly in their places.
Rob Acerra Sr. has served on Ocean Township’s Board of Education and Town Council. Having served with him, I know he is tireless and never shies away from a tough decision. When Michael Whelan decided to run for Town Council in Red Bank, he was told he had no chance. He won. When he joined the Council, he was told it was impossible to get a new parking garage built in Red Bank. It is getting done. Let’s send him to Trenton in place of people who say “it can’t be done.”
Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey are nice people. I’ve met them. But that’s not enough. We need to have representatives in Trenton who have the passion, energy and intellectual capacity to do the job. That’s why I’m voting for Rob Acerra Sr. and Michael Whelan for the Assembly in District 11.
Joe Hadden is a member of the Ocean Township Board of Education. These are his personal views and do not necessarily represent the views of the Township of Ocean Board of Education or its individual members.