|Jim with his favorite "constituents", his granddaughters|
When I ran for the Board of Ed I was overwhelmed by the support of friends and strangers. My team really stuck by me, and hundreds of people put my signs up in their yards. People still come up to me and say they voted for me. Since April I planned to pay-the-support-forward, so when a friend called me and asked me if I were willing to meet Jim, I was happy to. And I'm very glad I did. Helping Jim (behind the scenes) with his campaign has been very rewarding. I find him inspiring, and really hope that he will win.
Jim has spent a lifetime in public service. He started his career in the military, where he spent time in Taiwan as a JAG officer, and then went into poverty Law. On his website (www.jimventantonio.com) you can read a synopsis of his many forms of service and experience.
A fiscal conservative, he is very active in the business community, and served as a founding partner of the Somerset County Business Partnership. His experience living in Asia will make him more knowledgeable in recruiting foreign companies, like the Chinese telecom giant, Huawei, who recently choose Bridgewater as their US headquarters.
At the recent debate, he promised to keep Open Space open. I am skeptical to the development of these open areas. Our urban-sprawl environment needs space that is simply "green". In my opinion, we need street lights and sidewalks more than soccer fields or dog parks.
While in general there are too many lawyers in Government, Bridgewater really needs Jim's legal mind. He has managed lawyers, hired outside council (or chosen not to) and his experience will be invaluable to tax payers. Jim is the only candidate who brings this background. Our township is in the middle of a huge legal debacle that has brought unprecedented negative PR to Bridgewater. The Mosque issue has cost us dearly and will continue to do so well into the next administration.
As a former judge he is professionally trained to be fair, and as our former prosecutor he knows that there are multiple sides to any issue, but he can make the hard decisions. He is an independent thinker, and I know he will work across party lines to get things done.
On the ticket with Jim are the two other Democratic candidates, John Rooney and Mary Pranzatelli. I know them both personally and they will bring an open ear to our Town Council. They are both approachable people and their election will return two-party representation.
Yesterday the Courier News endorsed Jim as the best candidate. He has publicly stated that he will not take a salary and he be the mayor as his full time job (unlike one candidate, who is a full time teacher and at the debate, skirted a question as to whether he intends to quit his full-time job should he win).
I like Jim. I trust him. He's got sound judgment and strong character. I look forward to voting for him on Tuesday.
Not convinced? Come and meet Jim tonight at La Catena on Rte 22, 5-7pm. No RSVP is necessary and everyone is welcome.