2013-07-10 / Front Page

Ocean pol seeks write-in votes in U.S. Senate race

Staff Writer

Jack Trotta Jack Trotta When New Jersey residents head to the polls on Aug. 13 to select the candidates who will run in a special election to succeed the late U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg, a short list of high-profile individuals will be on the ballot.

Seeking the Democratic nomination to run in the Oct. 16 special election are Newark Mayor Cory Booker, state Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver, Congressman Frank Pallone and Congressman Rush Holt.

Seeking the Republican nomination to run in the Oct. 16 special election are former Bogota mayor Steve Lonegan and Dr. Alieta Eck.

The winner of the Oct. 16 election will serve a one-year term in the U.S. Senate.

A full six-year term in the U.S. Senate will appear on the November 2014 ballot in the Garden State.

Recently, one Ocean County politician has thrown his hat into the ring and is asking New Jersey voters from both political parties to cast a write-in vote for him on primary day, Aug. 13.

Jack Trotta, 50, a Republican member of the Plumsted Township Committee, said, “A lot of my friends have been telling me for years that I should get into higher office.”

Trotta served on the Jackson School District Board of Education in 2000-03 before moving to Plumsted. He has served on the Plumsted Township Committee since 2010.

Plumsted Mayor David Leutwyler said Trotta’s lack of a lengthy career in politics is part of the reason why he is supporting his colleague’s long-shot bid for a seat in the U.S. Senate.

“[Even though] Jack doesn’t have a lot of time in government, sometimes I’m not so sure that’s a bad thing,” Leutwyler said. “Maybe a fresh perspective is a good thing to have.”

State Assemblyman Ronald Dancer, who served on the Plumsted Township Committee and as the municipality’s mayor for more than two decades and who currently serves as the township’s business administrator, also expressed his support for Trotta.

“I have served with Jack on the Township Committee and I know firsthand of his honesty, dedicated work ethic and his tireless efforts to deliver tax relief,” Dancer said.

Trotta said if he ever made it to Washington, D.C., his main focus would be to represent a “declining middle class.”

“We always end up with the same type of people on the ballot — lawyers, doctors — no one representing the middle class,” he said.

Pointing to continuing economic difficulties amid a slow national recovery, Trotta said his main focus in the nation’s capital would be to address a consistently high unemployment rate.

“What the middle class needs is jobs … everybody is still worried about their job,” he said. “I recently read a report (which said) that a high number of people hate their job … and they hate it because of the way employers have treated their employees over the last few years. The people at the top end don’t realize that stuff.”

Trotta said he would take a different approach to job creation, with a focus on foreign trade agreements and increasing existing tariffs on imported goods in order to generate more revenue.

“We should be promoting our businesses in this country and encouraging more manufacturing … by renegotiating treaties with other countries and raising the duty rates so you have money to give incentives to start those businesses,” he said.

Trotta also suggested reducing the amount of federal aid being sent overseas as a way to ease the burden on American taxpayers.

“We need money in this country to help us,” he said. “We can’t help others if we can’t help ourselves first. I am telling people on both sides that if they are middle class, if they want to vote in the Aug. 13 primary and if you are like me and not happy with the choices you have on your (party’s) ticket, write me in.”

Trotta said he hopes his message will resonate with residents who might take the time on Aug. 13 to give him a write-in vote.

“I understand the odds are an extreme long shot,” he said. “If I at least get to the point where I am able to champion the rights of the middle class … I think it’s a success.”

Contact Andrew Martins at amartins@gmnews.com.

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