Passaic County Freeholder John Bartlett formally announced his candidacy for the CD11 congressional seat this morning against Rep. Rodney Felinghuysen, slamming the incumbent for a lack of engagement with constituents. Bartlett is forgoing a third term on the freeholder board, also up in 2018.
“It’s time for a new voice,” said Bartlett. He spoke of the accomplishments he’s been part of on the freeholder board, including balancing the budget, ensuring access to county services, and small business development.
“We won’t be outworked on this campaign,” Bartlett told the crowd gathered at the Alps Diner in Wayne. “Ask anyone who watched our campaign trail in 2012 when my team and I defeated Republican incumbents to take our seats on the freeholder board or in 2015 when we survived an onslaught and by fighting for every vote in every town came out on top again.”
“Our lives already touched so many corners of the 11th District,” noting his current residence in Wayne [and countywide presence as a freeholder], the beginning of his legal career in Roseland, his wife’s teaching career in Madison at FDU, and his church is in Montclair.
“Leadership starts with listening,” he said, announcing a “30 Coffees in 30 Days” initiative to meet and listen to CD11 residents and voters. “We’re going to have the type of dialogue that Congressman Frelinghuysen has been avoiding for all these years.”
Pledging to engage every town he can, he said, “you’ve heard of the 50 state strategy….well, we’re going to have the 54 town strategy.”
Of the 16 municipalities in Passaic County, 8 are in CD11: Bloomingdale, North Haledon, Totowa, Little Falls, Wayne, Wanaque, Pompton Lakes, and Woodland Park.
The Brown-educated and Harvard-educated Bartlett is a lawyer at Murphy Orlando LLC and has served as a Passaic County freeholder since 2012. He joins what looks to be a crowded field already, with several announced candidates such as Mikie Sherill and several possibilities and names-in-the-game including Passaic County’s Woodland Park Mayor Keith Kazmark, who’s seriously eyeballing a run of his own.