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CHESTER – John Barbarula had nice things to say Wednesday night about the other two Republicans trying to snag an open Assembly seat in the 25th District – Brian Bergen and Aura Dunn.
Speaking at a fundraiser at the historic Publick House, Barbarula said he admired Bergen, a West Point graduate and veteran, for his service, and Dunn for her work as an aide to Rodney Frelinghuysen.
But – and you knew there was a “but” coming – he said neither individual can match his experience. With about 40 years experience as an attorney and political activist, Barbarula said he has the
qualities to be an “adult” in Trenton.
No, he wasn’t saying his younger opponents were children. This was a crack about Democrats in Trenton, who he said are running the state into the ground or maybe a brick wall.
“Every week is a new tax,” he said, an exaggeration to be sure, but few Republican primary voters are going to disagree with the sentiment.
Barbarula vowed never to support a tax hike of any kind. Now, since he is experienced, you have to figure he knows how such a pledge could come back to bite you. Asked about that, Barbarula himself brought up George H.W. Bush’s famous – or infamous – pledge along those lines.
Still, Barbarula said genuine emergencies can be handled through emergency appropriations, not higher taxes. Or as he put it, “We would have to take from somewhere else.”
Barbarula said he “loves” New Jersey and wants to stay here in his retirement. But for that to be a realistic option for him and others, he said the state must become a less costly place to live.
The race for the Assembly seat Michael Carroll is vacating is just beginning. Incumbent Anthony M. Bucco is the district’s other assemblyman.
All three candidates – Bergen, Dunn and Barbarula – have now held fundraisers. Barbarula was the first to draw a contrast between him and his opponents.
You imagine he won’t be the last.