State Senator Jennifer Beck (R-11), who is running in one of the most closely watched general election battleground districts in this state this year, on Friday announced the selection of her two running mates.
They are Ocean Twp. Deputy Mayor Rob Acerra (pictured) and Red Bank Councilman Mike Whelan.
A national account manager for Carousel Industries, Acerra has served since 2015.
Still in his 20s, Whelan is an account executive.
For an extended interview with Whelan, please go here.
Beck picked this evening’s Monmouth GOP Lincoln Day Dinner as her site to unveil the pair of local elected officials.
“I’m privileged to announce the rest of the District 11 team. I’ve devoted my time in public service to fighting for Monmouth County families and I’m pleased that I will joined by two Assembly candidates who have done the same in Deputy Mayor Acerra and Councilman Whelan,” the senator said. “We look forward to sharing our vision for Monmouth County, one in which we must adequately fund our school districts to ease our local property tax burdens, fight unreasonable affordable housing formulas and protect our quality of life” said Beck.
Acerra has lived in Ocean Township over 25 years with his wife, Rose, and three sons. Beck noted that running mate Acerra has held the line on municipal tax increases in Ocean Township and saved over $1 million for taxpayers.
“I look forward to the upcoming campaign and applying the skills I have honed on the Ocean Township Council to the Statehouse in Trenton. It is time that we focus on the issues that matter, like our property tax crisis driving residents out of our State. I have a record of reaching across the political parties to achieve results locally. It is time we approach our State Legislature in a similar way,” said Acerra.
Red Bank Councilman Mike Whelan has been a member of the Red Bank Borough Council since 2016. Whalen grew up in Red Bank and currently serves as Police and Fire Commissioner. During his time as Councilman, Whelan led the fire department’s consolidation effort.
“New Jersey is facing an affordability crisis. With a billion dollar gas tax hike enacted and local property taxes, it’s clear that we need a voice for the middle-class families in this district. Running with Senator Beck and Deputy Mayor Acerra, I know that we will be able to tackle the big issues that families care about in Trenton” added Whelan.
“I take great pride in my ability to reach across the aisle and get things done for Monmouth County,” Beck added. “Legislators discussed the possibility of dredging the Shark River for 20 years – that project is now nearing completion. I vocally opposed and organized the citizens’ opposition to New Jersey’s gasoline tax increase, starting a petition that garnered over 20,000 signatures and hosted rallies all over my district. Underfunded school districts are a problem across the State, I have been able to secure additional funds for Red Bank and Freehold Borough. My office has personally assisted hundreds of individuals after Superstorm Sandy who were looking for guidance in the rebuilding process. My office has worked in tandem with the numerous non profits created in the district to reach out to Sandy-effected homeowners and get them back in their homes.”
Beck faces a challenge this year from Democrat (and former county party chairman) Vin Gopal, who’s running on a ticket with incumbent Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling and Assemblywoman Joann Downey. The pair of incumbent Democrats two years ago displaced Beck’s running mates: Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande and Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini.