Morris: The Heraclitian County

Things can change quickly, especially in politics.

Back in December, the Morris County freeholders bid a cheery farewell to Freeholder Hank Lyon who was leaving the board. Lyon became a noteworthy figure in Morris politics in 2012 after he got to the board at the tender age of 23 following a court challenge.
 
He gave up his freeholder seat last spring in an unsuccessful bid for the state Assembly in the 26th District GOP primary. As Lyon got the customary plaudits and well-wishes from his peers late last year, he gave the impression he was done with politics. At least for a while.
 
That “a while” lasted less than four months.
 
Lyon, of Montville, emerged back on the scene today with plans to run yet again for freeholder in this June’s primary.
 
As he filed his petition in the county clerk’s office in Morristown, Lyon explained, “If you run for freeholder at 23, it’s because you love politics.”
 
Lyon’s love for public life apparently has not faded, but you can expect some of his opponents to remember the young man’s comments about getting away from politics.
 
Lyon is running with incumbent Deborah Smith of Denville and former freeholder John Krickus of Washington Township. Both Krickus and Lyon are known as strong fiscal conservatives, so it’s easy to see what this team will be stressing.
 
One incumbent, Christine Myers of Mendham Township is giving up her seat after taking a federal job
The other incumbent, John Cesaro of Parsippany, is on his own – at least for now.
 
Incumbent freeholders traditionally have run together in Morris County, but these days things are not as chummy as they once were.
 
Cesaro seems undaunted, saying he’s proud of his accomplishments, especially in public works. He notes that the freeholders oversaw the repaving of  27.5 miles of county roads in the last year.
 
Those inclined to laugh that off should think twice. The average county resident probably can name more county roads than freeholders. So keeping roads in good shape is important.
 
There are three others in the race: Robert Peluso of Parsippany, Stephen Shaw of Denville and Aura Kenny Dunn of Mendham.
 
By any objective measure, Dunn is perhaps the most intriguing of the trio. A district coordinator for Rep. Rodney P. Frelinghuysen, Dunn is trying to move from the back office of politics so to speak to the front lines. She said she thinks her experience on the Congressional level will be invaluable.
 
There may not be that many similarities between Congress and freeholder, but Dunn says she generally knows how government works.With Frelinghuysen leaving office at the end of the year, Dunn says she wants to stay involved in public life.
 
As to whether she would team up with another candidate, she said, “I’d like to consider that.”
 
Cesaro essentially said the same thing, making the chances that he and Dunn would team up look pretty good.
 
Frelinghuysen has kept a low public profile since announcing he would not seek reelection two months ago.
 
It will be interesting to see if the outgoing congressman pops up to campaign for Dunn. In a way, that would close the circle, given the fact Frelinghuysen’s first elected job more than three decades ago was county freeholder.
 
Call it the beauty of politics; things change, but they also stay the same.
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