#NJSEN: Menendez roasted by local officials for failing to help Fort Monmouth’s jobless

EATONTOWN, NJ – Historic Fort Monmouth’s 2011 closure has left a lasting gap in Monmouth County’s jobs market.

The base region’s representatives at the time — including Bob Menendez and U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone (D, NJ-06) — did precious little to rescue the base personnel’s relocation to Maryland. Approximately, 6,000 Jersey Shore jobs were gone in an instant.

On Wednesday, U.S. Senate challenger Bob Hugin was flanked by Monmouth County Freeholders Gerry Scharfenberger, Ph.D. and Pat Impreveduto to discuss ongoing efforts to redevelop the base and, critically, what replacing Menendez with Hugin in Washington could mean for the larger effort to revitalize the region.

“Fort Monmouth’s closure had a devastating impact to this community and the economy, but the county leaders in Monmouth have turned a bad situation into a positive,” said Hugin. “They are making incredible progress to revitalize and redevelop the area and we have to make sure that our leaders in Washington and Trenton are doing everything they can to support their efforts to strengthen the economy and bring back jobs.”

The Base Realignment and Closure Commission tagged Fort Monmouth for closure back in 2005. Since the closure six years later, officials have worked to craft a new direction for the massive ex-military installation including the creation of twelve new liquor licenses for future food and beverage establishments. Since 2013, the state-developed Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority has catalyzed over $100 million in combined real estate transactions either closed, under contract, or still in negotiation.

“When the federal government closed Fort Monmouth, Bob Menendez failed to save thousands of New Jersey jobs. The federal government’s decision and the failure by our elected officials in Washington to stop it had a real world impact on thousands of people in our community,” said Scharfenberger. “But we’ve really made an omelette out of cracked eggs here and turned this into a positive. I can’t think of anyone better than Bob Hugin to make sure Washington gives New Jersey the resources we need.”

“We’ve made great progress revitalizing and repurposing this area despite the federal government’s decision to take away New Jersey jobs,” added Impreveduto. “It’s important that we have leaders in Washington like Bob Hugin, who will be a strong advocate for New Jersey and ensure the federal government is a willing partner in improving our economy.”

Public polling has shown a competitive single-digit race between Menendez, the incumbent, and his challenger Hugin, a former pharmaceutical executive.