Four vying for two freeholder nominations

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As first reported by the Advertiser News

Four Republicans will vie for the two available nominations for positions on the Board of Chosen Freeholders for Sussex County Board of Chosen Freeholders.

Incumbent George Graham is seeking another three-year term with Hopatcong Mayor Sylvia Petillo. Kathy Gorman and David Gray also are seeking nominations for a seat on the board.

The winners of Tuesday's June 7, 2016 primary will face the Democratic nominees in the November general election.

David Gray

Party: Republican

Age: 38

Political History: I am the Deputy Mayor of Byram Township, having been elected twice to Byram's Town Council. I am a small business owner and I know the importance of making Sussex County affordable. As an attorney, I advocate for property rights and 4th Amendment Rights such as ownership of firearms.

Occupation: Attorney

Education: Rutgers University, BS Organizational Management; Seton Hall Law School, JD

Family: Married. 2 children, ages 7 and 4.

Top three issues:

  1. Lower Taxes: We need to get control over spending and reducing the size of government. We cannot afford to waste money on pet projects, solar handouts, law firms or other issues that are wasting our money for things that don't help the taxpayer. Every decision should consider: Reducing Costs and Reducing Government.

  2. Open, Accountable and Limited Government. Our faith in government erodes when decisions are not made publicly and transparently. Elected officials must be open and accountable for their decisions. This nation has lost accountability by making backroom deals and shutting out the public. I will be open and accountable to the voters.

  3. Population Loss. When we lose people, our taxes go up. Sussex County should be a destination for seniors, veterans and Millennials once they get married and settle down. But for Sussex County to be a destination, we need to have jobs, lower taxes and better infrastructure.

Kathy Gorman

Party: Republican

Age: 62

Political History: none, very active in my municipality / Wantage Township

Occupation: Buyer / Planner NOKIA

Education: High School, 2 years College

Family: Married 32 years, 2 grown children

Top three issues:

  1. Foreclosures/Population loss: Sussex County is in serious trouble with an almost 20 percent foreclosure rate. Lifestyle events such as job loss are forcing people to leave as well as the high taxes. Our county needs revitalization to attract businesses bringing local jobs and help our local economy. We need to cut the regulations that have put a stranglehold on homeowners with strangling fees. Every family we lose has a cost effect on the rest of us.

  2. Loss of Millennials. In the past people moved to Sussex County because the homes and taxes were affordable. People did not mind traveling a decent amount of miles away because at the time gas was also affordable. Today, the millennials are moving out of Sussex County in droves. Taxes are high, there are few higher wage jobs available. Gas is now costly and there is nothing to do. To get anywhere you must have transportation. We need more enticement to bring the millennials back to Sussex County. We need more and better Economic Development, we need incentives to bring companies to Sussex County. We need more than 1 hospital, we need better infrastructure, and we need moderately priced housing. We need to work hard to bring our County back, yet we cannot lose the beauty we already have. Sussex County College is on the way to offering more to our students and enticing them to stay. We need to make Sussex County a place where people of all ages are proud to call home.

  3. Spending. I believe I have made it clear I would have never voted for the solar deal. It was a pyramid. However, some have thought to find me “guilty by association”. I do not believe in spending now $250,000 on a law firm to see if we can recoup any money. I do believe in an investigation, but not by a law firm with serious Democratic ties. I cannot make it any plainer than that. What I can promise is, if elected, is a “fresh” set of eyes and common sense. I will take the time to examine everything and look for waste, look for duplication of effort. I have made no promises to anyone except the people of Sussex County. We all deserve the very best and I will work tirelessly to achieve that goal. Every dollar counts.

Sylvia Petillo

Party: Republican

Age: 65

Political History: Hopatcong Board of Education - 9 years. Borough Council — 3 years. Mayor of Hopatcong - 9 years. 2014 Mayor of the Year Award by the Sussex County Economic Partnership.

I have served on the Finance Committee, Land Use Board, Health Board, Health Advisory Board, Open Space Committee, Senior Advisory Board, Emergency Management Council, Municipal Drug & Alcohol Alliance, St. Clair’s Community Advisory Board, Leadership Committee Project Self-Sufficiency, and Sussex County League of Municipalities, Executive Board State League of Municipalities, and Board of Directors of American Christian School.

Occupation: Vice-President of Petillo Enterprises Inc. – a local site-development company that I own with my husband.

Family: I have been married to Ron Petillo for 41 years. We have two children: Michael is an Associate Pastor at Springs Church in Colorado Springs. He is married to Beth and has a son, Landon. Joseph is a Professional Engineer at Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey. He is married to Meredith and has daughter, Serena.

Top Three Issues:

  1. Responsible Government: We have an obligation to spend every tax dollar responsibly. There must be a balance between preserving essential services while controlling spending. The projected cost of the solar project is about 2 million dollars a year for the next 10 years. While revenues against that number may improve we can’t count on it. We need to closely monitor expenditures and keep spending levels tight. We should also broaden our focus and look for alternate ways and efficiencies to bring revenues in to offset taxes.

  2. Economic Growth: The County can expand revenues by encouraging small business development and redevelopment in major corridors and commercial areas. By reassessing county regulations and expediting the process, we can create a simplified system that builds a strong investment climate. A more comprehensive and strategic commitment to Economic Development will also create jobs.

  3. Drug Epidemic: Right now we have a problem in the county that is disturbing and needs our attention; drug abuse that is destroying lives, tearing families apart and impacting our community. I have taken a strong position against the infiltration of drugs in my community and support the C.L.E.A.R. Program (Community Law Enforcement Addiction Recovery) initiative to facilitate medical intervention and recovery support for those seeking assistance

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