NEWTON, NJ – Longtime Sussex County resident, Alicia Ferrante, has been an attorney practicing in Sussex County since 1996. The Hampton Township resident began her career at Laddey, Clark & Ryan in Sparta, and then her son was born. Following her son’s birth, she worked at Gruber, Colabella & Liuzza.
It was after the birth of her daughter, Ferrante said, “I decided I need flexibility, and I opened my own practice in 2004.”
In Ferrante’s career, she has specialized in working with clients’ wills, as well as with adoptions, and guardianships, all functions of the Sussex County Surrogate Court.
Ferrante has also served as Vernon’s municipal prosecutor for three years, and is the assistant municipal prosecutor in West Milford Township. She volunteers her time as an attorney for Project Self-Sufficiency. She also dedicates her time to sports programs in Hampton. In 2011, she was the chairperson of the Heroes of the American Red Cross Campaign, helping to raise $63,000 for the cause.
Ferrante’s work path brought her frequently to the surrogate, and she worked frequently with now-retired surrogate, Nancy Fitzgibbons. Fitzgibbons mentioned to her during a conversation, about her plans to retire. Fitzgibbons' term was to be up in 2015, yet she had an opportunity to depart early.
As an attorney, Ferrante said she has already been serving the public, as the surrogate does.
With the know-how of already performing the functions of the surrogate through her role as an attorney, Ferrante said she has decided to run for the office.
“With my legal background, I feel qualified to run,” said Ferrante. “Having that legal background is an asset.”
Ferrante explained attorneys overall analyze situations differently than laypeople do. Although surrogates can handle many matters on their own, and are the judges of the surrogate courts, and the deputy probates within the court system, a surrogate needs to consult with a court judge if an issue of a contested estate arises, and hand the matter over to them.
Ferrante, who filed her petition for the surrogate position, will have to win the primary in June, in order to be on the ballot for the general election in November.
Currently, Gary Chiusano, serves in the role of surrogate, after being nominated by Governor Chris Christie, and was sworn in afterward. Click here and here for previous stories in The Alternative Press about Chiusano’s swearing in. Chiusano must compete for the spot in the primary, and will serve out the rest of the year as surrogate. Depending on who wins the primary, will determine if Chiusano will stay on after Jan. 1, 2014, or Ferrante will take over the spot.
“All too often in Sussex County, there’s never a choice,” said Ferrante. “Here, the voters have the choice. All too often, it’s the same people moving around.”
Ferrante said when new candidates emerge it is time to embrace them. And, she added, it is important for women voters to see other women seeking public office.
She said with the surrogate position, there is a compassionate side required, and a lot of hand holding, something Ferrante is acclimated with already, in helping clients as she has with wills and estates, and the difficult emotional process affiliated with both.
Glen Vetrano is a volunteer and campaign supporter for Ferrante.
“I had the honor and privilege to serve 10 years,” said Vetrano, who served as a Sussex County Freeholder.
Vetrano, however, said he believes in term limits.
“It was time for me to step down, and encourage other qualified people to seek office,” said Vetrano. “Nobody said the position should be labeled mine.”
One difference, both Ferrante and Vetrano noted of the surrogate position, is the only political aspect of it is, it is an elected position.
“Alicia is a qualified candidate,” Vetrano added about Ferrante. “Alicia’s candidacy is prepared to hit the ground running.”
Vetrano said Ferrante would be able to step into the position, as she is already acclimated with the functions, with her job as attorney.
Ferrante has been meeting with voters throughout the county to introduce herself and explain more about the office of the surrogate, including at an event at the Lamp Post Inn in Vernon, and at the PBA Sussex County Local 138 fundraiser. There are more events to come for Ferrante, including Beefsteak Dinner catered by the Brownstone, on Friday, April 26.
For complete information about Ferrante, and the position of surrogate, click here for her website.
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