By Matthew Gilson | The Save Jersey Blog
Continuing my series of interviews with local candidates around the state, I must admit up front to my bias; this candidate is one of my favorites running in the current cycle.
Last year, Dan Pronti won a special election triggered by the resignation of North Arlington Councilman Steve Tanelli following his election as freeholder. His win, realized with his running mates Joe Bianchi and Rich Hughes, created a 3-3 tie on the borough council of Bergen County’s southernmost town.
This year, Pronti is running for a full three-year term on a ticket headed by Councilman Bianchi who is challenging two-term incumbent Pete Massa for mayor, and joined on the council line by newcomer Kerry Cruz.
I sat down with Pronti at a recent Kathe Donovan fundraiser to discuss his campaign in Election 2014’s closing hours.
I started by asking Pronti about how he felt about his chances in what is a perennial swing-town where elections are rarely decided by more than a handful of votes.
Pronti said he felt this year was shaping up to be a big Republican win, not only due to the accomplishments of the Republican leadership in town, but also attributable to a building backflash to the gutter politics and negativity of the Democrat ticket and its allies. We shared a good laugh over a Democrat propaganda website – Natoday.net – which Pronti said has been his biggest asset; he routinely posts letters and e-mails from constituents (mainly Democrats) saying they are voting for his team because the Democrats have no ideas of their own and resort to anonymous and vitriolic internet posts to make a message.
“The one with me and Bianchi up in the plane had to be my favorite” joked Pronti.
He laughed hardest at the site’s oft-repeated but entirely false claim that he won’t debate. “Matt, you know me, I’ll debate anyone, anytime, anywhere, who are they kidding?” Pronti said, smiling from eat to ear.
Both sides in the North Arlington contest openly acknowledge much is at stake. Turning to his opponents, Pronti cited the Democrats lack of ideas and unwillingness to do anything but criticize the opposition as a major road block to real progress. Pronti and his team mates, on the other hand, have a plan and know what they want to do starting Day #1 under a Republican-led government.
Pronti outlined for me the main issues at play in North Arlington this cycle including parking, safety and the health of growing businesses. He wants to engage the community on all of these topics in an open discussion without endless, circular and nonconstructive partisan bickering. In his mind, as the old saying goes, “there is no Republican or Democratic way to pick up garbage.” He’s troubled by the amount of vacant storefronts in the town and believes the time for action is now.
The bottom line? With so much on the line, Save Jerseyans, Pronti doesn’t believe North Arlington afford another four years of the Massa squad. I’m inclined to agree! Pronti and his team are committed to keeping North Arlington small, safe, and suburban. Like his Facebook page and show your support, and please let anyone you know in North Arlington that, on November 4th, it’s Bianchi, Pronti and Cruz!