New Republican Organization Looks To Challenge Political Establishment
Wayne Regular Republican Party for the People focused on rejecting tax-and-spend method of governing.
A group of residents has formed a new local Republican Party ticket in the hopes of giving residents an alternative to the Wayne Regular Republican Organization (WRRO).
The Wayne Republican Party for the People (WRPP) is focused on rejecting what it calls a “tax-and-spend” system of government in town.
Joe Bubba founded the 200-member organization.
“Our organization is based on engaging the public and voting in a manner that is consistent with the will of the people,” said Bubba.
There are eight Republicans on the nine-member council. Chris McIntyre is the lone Democrat. Mayor Chris Vergano is also a Republican.
Bubba referenced the fact that the council last year voted to increase the municipal portion of residents’ taxes by $89. The vote was 5-4 in favor of the $76.5 million budget and $56.7 million tax levy, the portion of the budget funded by local taxes. The average residents' municipal taxes could increase $112 this year if the council approves the $55.5 million tax levy. The township’s tax base decreased by about $35 million from last year.
“I don’t think we have a revenue problem,” Bubba said, ‘I believe we have a problem overspending.
“I believe that we have anti-tax public. You have to pay someone in order to get your services done, but you’ve got to live within your means.”
Bubba said that there appears to be disunity between the current Republican administration and town council members. He claims this is adding to the problem of ever-increasing taxes and being out of touch with voters.
Council President Joseph Scuralli could not be reached for comment.
Bubba wants representation of WRPP members on the Wayne Township Republican County Committee, which selects who will run for local office. He wants members of his ticket and the WRRO to serve together on the committee. He said such a measure would introduce “independent thought” into the local political process that, according to him, does not exist now. He said he has brought the idea up to Mark Semeraro, chairman of the WRRO, only to have Semeraro shoot it down. Semerao could not be reached for comment.
“How can the underpinnings of our political system be controlled by this type of aristocracy,” Bubba asked.
Bubba helped run Governor Chris Christie’s campaign in Passaic County when he was running against incumbent Governor Jon Corzine.
“The inner political circles know Joe was the lighting rod for the governor’s grassroots campaign in our county,” said Jacqueline Pisatowski, communications director of the WRPP.
Bubba said local politicians need to adopt Christie’s philosophy of governing when it comes to spending tax dollars by balancing the budget and cutting spending.
“We need to bring the best of Governor Christie’s philosophy to Wayne or we will continue to be choked by property tax increases,” Bubba said.
Bubba has some experience with starting locally-run organizations. He helped establish the Concerned Citizens of Wayne, a non-partisan, grassroots organization that works to educate the public on local issues. The group held its first meeting earlier this year in response to a rash of burglaries that occurred in the township.
Bubba said he might run for office next year. Vergano and at-large Council members Joseph Schweighardt's, James Jimenez's, and Lonni Miller Ryan's terms all expire next year.
“It’s going to be an uphill battle, but we want to try and make a difference,” Pisatowski said.