What office in which district are you running for?
Berkeley Heights, NJ Town Council.
How long have you been a member of the Libertarian Party?
What is your background? Employment, education, family, hobbies, interests?
Computer programmer, BS chemical engineering, married with 2 children. Physics, photography and travel.
If elected, what is the first piece of legislation you would introduce?
Closing all non-essential committees. Communications Committee, Beautification Committee etc.
Why are you running?
I am running because our taxes have skyrocketed over the past 10 years and when I started digging I found pet projects, contracts without deliverables and zoning deals that favor selected land owners at the expense of the general taxpayer.
Who are you running against for your seat, and how do you plan on making you and your policy proposals most attractive to voters?
I am running against two Republicans: Couto and Bavoso. There is a curious backstory with them as the local Republican Committee chose two new people to run and removed support for their two or three time incumbent to put these two up there. There are lots of rumors as to why the incumbent was replaced, but the consensus was because he was asking too many questions about what was going on and not always voting along with the other five Republicans on the council.
I live in a Republican town. However our taxes have gone up 41.5% over the past 10 years. While much of this is for schools and county taxes, I started digging and found a bunch of pet projects, contracts written with no defined deliverables, and zoning deals that allow contractors to make money but the tax payer left to subsidize the new units being built. People I have spoken with have significant distrust with the town, and the fact that everything is done in secrecy does not help. My platform is simple. Improved transparency and communication between the town and the people and to eliminate all non-essential expenditures in town.
Have you received any support from the Libertarian Party? If so, what kind of support?
Yes, there has been some financial support as well as a candidates group where we can discuss things from opening up a bank account legally to where to buy yard signs. It is great to have a bunch of people that have been through this before.
It’s often said in the liberty movement that it is much more effective, and feasible, for libertarians and LP members to run for state and local offices rather than national office. Is this why you are running, because a higher office is a bridge too far? Or is it mostly because of the issues facing residents of Berkeley Heights?
It’s funny because I was a national delegate in Orlando this year. During that weekend someone said “If there is a seat that is uncontested, put your name down to run against them, even if you don’t think you can win. Get your name listed.” I was told this was a “Libertarian Trademark” so that is really what I signed up for.
When I got home I figured out what I needed to do and I got my 44 signatures and a letter from NJ Libertarians and got on the ballot as a Libertarian for my Town Council. Just about the same time, I found out about the Republican primary where the Republican Committee removed the incumbent prior to the election and then I spoke to that incumbent and he told me he is pissed and that he would endorse me and at the same time found someone that has followed the town and who was known as “The OPRA King” who happened to be a libertarian. At that point I decided to actually give it a run for its money.
Do you have aspirations for higher offices?
No, just looking to promote the Libertarian Party and try to fix what is in my town. I would like to get more involved within the Libertarian Party though.
How does your education and career affect and influence your campaign?
I have a diverse background. Work in finance, am a computer programmer, have a degree in chemical engineering, and am an avid photographer. I have had money and have been poor, I was even involved in 9/11 as an employee of Tower 1 on that day. I feel that I understand most people. I can understand the rich, the poor, white, black, Hispanic, artists, blue collar, white collar. I can understand when people are doing things for selfish reasons vs misguided ones. I have lived in South America and traveled to 20+ countries and 30+ states. I have seen other ways of doing things that make sense. My father was a World War II vet who served in the Navy at D-Day and came back with what would now be considered PTSD. I feel that through all of these experiences I can see things in a more complete picture than others who have lead a less diverse life.
Tom and his campaign can be reached at:
This article was edited for grammar, style, and spelling, but not for content. The views expressed are that of the author, Dillon Eliassen, exclusively, and do not reflect that of BeingLibertarian.com or Being Libertarian LLC
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