NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – Rejecting incumbent mayor Brooke Hern, the local Republican Committee has selected former Mayor Al Morgan to represent the party in the June Primary.
The announcement was made Wednesday night (Jan. 15) by Committee Chairman Bill Hoefling who introduced Morgan along with incumbent council members Armand Galluccio and Dr. Bob Robinson who are seeking re-election.
A crowd of 150 people who attended the event at Creative Wallcoverings & Interiors included residents, current and former Borough Council members, politicians from Summit, Berkeley Heights, Mountainside and two members of the State General Assembly.
As the evening progressed and short speeches were delivered, it became readily apparent the objective was to paint Morgan, unlike current Mayor J. Brooke Hern, as a consensus builder with strong local ties, neighboring communities and the state assembly.
Introduced by his campaign manager Nadine Geoffroy, Morgan said he had been urged by the business community and residents to seek office.
“They said, ‘We need you back’. Quite frankly I never left,” Morgan said talking about his continuing involvement with Memorial Library, the Office of Emergency Management and the New Providence Lions Club.
The former mayor expressing a degree of passion and emotion said he wasn’t pleased with what he saw in the community.
“What I see is not what I envisioned for this town. We need to be a family and bring people together.” He added he had been able to work with the Borough Council during his tenure as mayor and can do it again.
Councilman Galluccio told the large audience that it had been an honor and privilege to serve the borough. “I’m looking forward to working with our new mayor,” he said which drew a loud approving response.
Councilman Robinson depicted Morgan as a caring person who listens to people, seeks consensus and would work in harmony with the Borough Council. “Wouldn’t that be nice?”, he said which drew loud applause.
Robinson added that Morgan had a reputation of working closely and easily with mayors from neighboring communities and the state assembly. “New Providence wins again with Al Morgan as mayor,” he said.
Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz and Assemblyman Jon Bramnick, who have a long history of outstanding support of the borough, were also on hand to lend their support to Morgan’s election effort.
Outspoken and direct, Munoz said the only mayor they have “had trouble working with is the current mayor,” referring to Hern.
Looking at Morgan, she said, “You have our support and we’re looking forward to working with you.”
Bramnick, well known for a canny sense of humor, said that if there were a reality show about New Providence it would be called “The Best and Biggest Hug.” Morgan, well known for his awesome hugs, could prompt a polar bear to flee to a distant ice floe.
“There is nothing like the warmth of Al Morgan. Al is our true friend and should be the mayor,” Bramnick said.
Mayor Hern is in the last year of a four-year term of office. Prior to taking office in January 2011, he served on the Borough Council for six years. He has not made any announcement on his future plans.
Morgan served as the borough’s mayor for two terms from 1999 to 2006. He sought a third term but withdrew his candidacy when a change in jobs wouldn’t allow the time to adequately serve the needs of the community.
Upon leaving office in 2006, Morgan cited several accomplishments, including improvements to the Senior Citizen Center, a youth summer enrichment program, major improvements to the town’s aging infrastructure especially a dedicated street repavement program, the establishment of the Office of Emergency Management following Hurricane Floyd, major additions to Memorial Library, a new Rescue Squad building and major equipment upgrades for public safety.