LD39 Race Takes Shape

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Multiple Candidates Jockey to Replace Indicted Assemblyman Ahead of Convention

By James Beattie | The Save Jersey Blog

LD39With recent events surrounding Robert Schroeder in LD39 reshaping the political landscape, who as of this writing has not tendered his resignation, a crop of candidates are jockeying to replace the fallen Assemblyman in this spring’s Bergen County Republican Convention for the chance to serve alongside Assemblywomen Holly Schepisi.

There are plenty of names out there. Among the potential Schroeder replacements are former Bergen County Freeholder Robert Hermansen, former Bergen County Freeholder Clerk and Saddle River Council President Karen Mastriano, Old Tappan GOP Chairman Bob Auth, and Old Tappan Mayor Victor Polce

While nothing is guaranteed in politics, LD39 is strongly favored to remain in Republican hands this year, and logic dictates that it will go “red” once again.  There are certainly challenges, however, for whoever ultimately fills Schroeder‘s seat seat.

The Office of Legislative Services reports that New Jersey’s budget projections may’ve missed targets by as much as $540 million for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2012.  Furthermore, Garden State property owners are paying an average of $7,759 in 2011; still the highest in the nation. 

These challenges only scratch the surface… 

Holly Schepisi has served valiantly in her first term succeeding Charlotte Vandervalk, and thus is likely to be welcomed back to the statehouse for another term.  The real question is who should take the place of Mr. Schroeder; the early front runner is Rob Hermansen.

This blogger thinks that’s a good thing.

Rob HermansenThe other candidates have exceptional qualifications to serve in Trenton and would no doubt serve the 39th District with distinction.  Nevertheless, New Jersey is the only state with a Republican executive facing an increase in its unemployment rate over the past four years.  While on the Freeholder board, Mr. Hermansen helped pass a sound budget after many years of budgets clouded by pay-to-play status quo politics at One Bergen Plaza.  

Mr. Hermansen worked to ensure that the county budget was posted online for everyone to view equating to actual transparency.  Not to mention at the beginning of his term he reduced his pay at a time where Congress is voting themselves a pay raise on a regular basis.

Maybe the most significant accomplishment: Mr. Hermansen helped author and pass pay-to-play legislation both in the Township of Mahwah and in Bergen County, ensuring that if someone wants to donate to a campaign, it does not afford the donor a ticket to a government contract, the previous status quo at One Bergen Plaza, a particularly controversial move among members of both parties including the leadership of his own. Rare courage!

There is little doubt that Rob Hermansen goes toe to toe with the Republican Party leadership in Bergen County, often forging his own path. That can be a good thing. Having led at the local, county and private sector levels, this blogger believes Mr. Hermansen is the right man at the right time to serve in the New Jersey General Assembly.


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