A Statement from Sussex County Democratic Committee Chair, Katie Rotondi

Katie Rotondi, the new chair of the Sussex County Democrats, feels the best way – perhaps the only way – to build the Democratic party in conservative Sussex County is by making progress town-by-town. She hopes local Democratic municipal candidates can make inroads in a handful of towns this fall.

A Statement from Sussex County Democratic Committee Chair, Katie Rotondi

The statement released by the Sussex County Republican Committee regarding Chair Jerry Scanlan’s removal from the Committee’s social media platforms is merely the illusion of change and action.

A chair is responsible for every aspect of an organization’s body, regardless of mission or type. Jerry Scanlan is no exception. Accordingly, Jerry Scanlan exorcizing himself from any involvement in SCRC’s social media does not absolve him from his duties as chair; as he still sits atop the Committee and bears responsibility for the entirety of the Republican organization. The only way for Chair Scanlan’s removal from social media platforms to have any meaning would be for him to step down as Chair of the Sussex County Republican Committee. To be perfectly clear, we have not called for his removal as Chair of the Sussex County Republican Committee and we are not now. We have exclusively called into question his ability to serve as the Vice Chair of the Sussex County Community College Board of Trustees while he simultaneously allows an organization he runs to post repugnant images that spout hate. The Sussex County Republican Committee is irrelevant in that it has only served as the conduit through which Scanlan has exposed his poor judgment that has led to the investigation into whether he is fit to make decisions on the educational futures of students at the college.

It has not gone unnoticed that in releasing this statement, top Sussex County Republican Committee members Jill Space and Kelly Hart, as well as Freeholder Dawn Fantasia have made another disturbing attempt to make this about politics and not about the actual issue, which is doing what is best for the college. Instead of focusing on who will oversee the Republican Committee’s social media, Freeholder Fantasia should be concerning herself with overseeing the County College’s Board of Trustees, as that is a clearly defined role of a Freeholder. Further, as the School Director of a middle school, it is distressing that Freeholder Fantasia has chosen to put her political aspirations ahead of the wellbeing of the students’ education at the County College.

In the separate statements of both Jerry Scanlan and the Sussex County Republican Committee there has not been any acknowledgment of Jerry Scanlan’s poor judgment or any condemnation of the objectionable, hate spreading tweets that undoubtedly are having a negative impact on the students at Sussex County Community College. If any other member of the Board of Trustees, whether on their personal social media account or on a social media account of an organization they are responsible for, expressed similar, harmful sentiments we would be taking the same actions.

Jerry Scanlan, the Sussex County Republican Committee and the Freeholder Board are exploiting the polarizing and controversial opinions of some of the individuals depicted in the memes they retweeted in an attempt to change the conversation to their pet issue, sanctuary states. Jerry Scanlan and the Sussex County Republican Committee have only mentioned their posts that include these women to distract from the other recent images shared in their around the clock tweeting that include the mocking of the LGBTQ+ community and sexual assault, attempting to capitalize on the tragedy of 9/11, humiliating a survivor of the tragic school shooting in Parkland, Florida where children lost their lives, and displaying contempt for the desperate and innocent children separated from their families.

This is not a political issue. This is an issue of right and wrong. It is wrong to fan the flames of hatred and oppression. It is wrong to demean the concerns of citizens during a Freeholder meeting. It is wrong to jeopardize the positive reputation of our Community College for political mileage. It is wrong to not consider the impact that those hateful words and images have on each student and their right to a safe and happy learning environment.

It is right, however, for the Board of Chosen Freeholders and the Sussex County Community College Board of Trustees to take this matter seriously by taking the time to put thoughtful consideration into their investigations, and to consider the future of the students and community they serve.

We appreciate that the Sussex County Community College Board of Trustees indicated to members of the community during Tuesday’s meeting that they would take this matter seriously and we thank them for that. We are disappointed that we cannot say the same for the elected Board of Freeholders.

Nothing has changed since Jerry Scanlan’s tweets were brought to our attention and our stance remains the same – any person that shares hate-filled, bigoted, racist, homophobic, misogynistic, prejudice and altogether intolerant material, and refuses to apologize is unfit to serve on the SCCC Board of Trustees. Despite the misleading statement of Jill Space, Kelly Hart, and Freeholder Dawn Fantasia, Jerry Scanlan is still the SCRC Chair and as such the responsible party for their social media. Most importantly, Jerry Scanlan’s response has not changed. As a result, he has made it clear he should resign as Vice Chair of the Sussex County Community College Board of Trustees.

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