Please Allow Me To Introduce Myself - PART XXVIII

Chairing the Monmouth Transportation Management Association for the County brought me quite a bit of notoriety, especially in local business and political circles. It also brought me lots of media attention, since my TMA was helping solve the massive labor shortages that so many area companies were facing and - at the same time - we were helping a great deal of local minorities get jobs and transportation to and from work. These jobs offered training and better pay than those they were competing for in poor urban settings like Asbury Park and Neptune, at the time.  

My chairmanship brought me together with a long time family friend, Freeholder Ted Narozanick.  Of course, Ted once helped me get a very good summer job during my senior year of high school with the Monmouth County Jury Commission.  Now, Ted got to see me in action as a adult in a real position of leadership. 

Ted was so impressed by how well I handled the role of organization chair that he approached me about being a possible council candidate in Freehold Borough in the upcoming fall election.  Ted was a died-in-the-wool Republican and he was looking for someone young and fresh to contest two strong Democratic incumbents in town, Lynn Reich and Bill Maushardt.  I told Ted that I might be interested in giving it a go.  It sounded interesting and exciting.

The story went like this. "Marc, you'd make a good candidate for a run in the Borough. What is your political affiliation,?" he asked me. "Democrat," I answered. "That will have to change," was his immediate response.  The next day I filled out a new political affiliation card at the County Voter Registration Office.

Within a few weeks, Ted brought me along to a Freehold Borough Republican Club meeting in the basement of the Freehold Elk's Lodge and introduced me around.  I am not sure that I knew anyone, at all,  in the room that night and he put me on the spot to explain to everyone why I felt I would make a good candidate for the town council.

The committee chair was none other than John Rosseel and he was to be instrumental in making the decision.  In fact, he was deciding to run in that campaign himself, so if chosen, I would be his running mate.
I stood up and spoke from the heart about why I thought I could make a difference for my town.  I made my best case to be considered and then I left.

In a few days, I received a phone call from John Rosseel. He was very pleased to tell me that the Republican campaign committee had selected me as a council candidate and that I would be his running mate in the upcoming primary.  He also told me how low the odds were for us beating the much better established and popular Democrat incumbents.  Basically, he considered us "sacrificial lambs" running just to represent the local Republican party.

Regardless of the odds, the idea of running in a general election was exciting to me as a guy still in my thirties.  I remember talking to Tom Barkalow, a local attorney and member of the Borough Republicans, about how excited I was to be involved in all this. Tom said to me, "Marc, you are at the perfect age to run for office."  I believed he was right.  My energy and interest levels were sky high.

So, preparation for a long campaign season soon got underway.  There was a lot to learn and alot to do.

To be continued...

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