Another Route, Another Root – of DeGroot

BRANCHVILLE – Jack DeGroot is seeking a graduate degree in statistics so you figure he knows how to count, which is always important in politics.

More to the point, DeGroot is a 24-year-old from Wantage who grew up on a farm and who wants a seat on the Sussex County Board of Commissioners. His farm background works well in Sussex, but DeGroot also has some “real life” government experience. As a student at the University of New Hampshire, he interned for Republican Gov. Chris Sununu.

DeGroot hosted a fundraiser last week with about a hundred people at a local restaurant overlooking Culver Lake, a nice setting to be sure.

In a brief speech, he urged each of his supporters to tell 10 people to vote for him, and if those 10 people tell 10 other people – well, you get the idea. Did we say that DeGroot is into statistics?

The focus is the June 6 Republican primary, which in GOP-heavy Sussex, is tantamount to election.
Herb Yardley is the incumbent commissioner. Now the deputy director, he is seeking his third term.

But there also is another challenger in the race, Nick D’Agostino, the president of the Sussex-Wantage Regional Board of Education.

Yardley has to be seen as the favorite and it’s not only because he has two challengers, who would split the opposition vote. Running against an incumbent county commissioner is awfully hard, simply because many people know little about what county government does. It’s difficult to get voters roused up against something that seems pretty obscure. Needless to say, it does not look like changing the name from freeholder to commissioner has improved anyone’s public visibility.

No matter, DeGroot said after his speech that he thinks the county board can do a better job communicating with the public and also municipal officials. He also talks of preserving what everyone loves about Sussex – namely its natural beauty and agricultural heritage. To that end, he wants a further commitment to the state’s farmland preservation program.

DeGroot said that more collaboration among the county, the towns and the public should lead to “new thoughts, great thoughts.” (Sussex candidate DeGroot, by the way, is not related to Paul DeGroot, who ran for Congress last year in CD-11.)

D’Agostino, who spoke at a candidates’ night a few weeks ago at the local firehouse, describes himself as a “conservative firebrand.”

He told the crowd that when he joined the school board, it had a 5-4 liberal majority. School boards are officially non-partisan, but that’s not reality these days.

Now, he said, the Sussex-Wantage board is dominated by conservatives. In fact, he said it’s the most conservative board in the state.

D’Agostino’s social media page boasts that he has attracted the attention of such conservative luminaries as Ben Carson, Mike Huckabee, Madison Cawthorn, Jeff Van Drew and Ed Durr.

This type of name-dropping is common in politics, but a cynic must observe – unless some of these people vote in Sparta or Hamburg, what’s the point?

So far, it’s been the LD-24 state Assembly primary that has attracted most of the political attention in Sussex. That’s understandable, but the county commission primary merits a look as well.

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One response to “Another Route, Another Root – of DeGroot”

  1. As far as the Sussex County Commissioner post…there are 2 choices…DeGroot or Yardley.
    There is no need for political namedroping or partisan politics within the Republican Party in Sussex County. DeGroot and Yardley have declared their concerns for Sussex County and its residents, just as a County Commissioner should.

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