BARNEGAT, NJ - Four Republican candidates have announced plans to take over incumbent Congressman Andy Kim’s seat in the House of Representatives. One is Barnegat’s own mayor, John Novak. However, there’s another Barnegat resident who believes he’s best for the job. A few weeks ago, Martin “Marty” Weber declared his candidacy – as an independent running to become the third congressional district’s representative.
Weber’s credentials differ vastly from the other five individuals running in CD-3. The Republican challengers and Democrat incumbent all have advanced college degrees. A business owner, Weber never pursued formal education beyond high school. Instead, he elected a different kind of learning experience. Weber enlisted in the United States Army and describes himself as a proud veteran.
It’s something that sets Weber apart from the other candidates. And, as far as he’s concerned, his opponents merely talk about what they can do for veterans. However, Weber says he understands the issues firsthand. A personal experience catapulted his decision to run for congress and make changes.
While he’s all against career politicians, Weber sees the value in what elected officials can do to help others. Years ago, Weber sought a seat on the Barnegat Township Committee. He says he only lost by a little more than 100 votes. Weber also planned to challenge Tom MacArthur for the congressional seat now held by Andy Kim. However, he says it was “dirty politics” and a lack of funds that stopped him.
Meanwhile, the impetus behind Weber’s aspirations brought tears to his eyes as he explained why he wants to make it to congress. He blames the death of his life partner of 31 years on what he says was a lack of care from the VA health system.
Weber, 55, first met Jeff Piossant in Germany, where they were stationed by the United States Army. Weber was a truck driver, and his partner was a crew chief helicopter pilot. For the most part, the two kept their relationship secret when they were in the Army. When they completed their military service, Piossant came back to New Jersey with Weber.
The couple extended their personal relationship to include a business partnership. Twenty-nine years ago, Weber and Piossant started Yo Buck Landscaping Company. Should Weber secure the congressional seat, he already has a buyer for the business.
According to Weber, Piossant died from bladder cancer on November 5, 2017. His appointment with the VA Hospital was scheduled so far in advance that he died before it ever came to be.
“By the time I got Jeff into a civilian hospital, his bladder was beyond repair and ripped apart,” said Weber. “The doctors at Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia told me he could have lived ten years longer. It was the delay in treatment that caused him to go sepsis.”
It wasn’t the first time that Weber attempted to find his life partner care outside the VA health system. However, he discovered that neither of the two local hospitals participated in the Veterans Choice Program if a person appeared stable.
“Only Jefferson Hospital would take Jeff,” said Weber. “Two years later, and they still haven’t been paid.”
Since Piossant’s death, President Donald Trump signed a new bill to replace the Choice program. “Even with the executive paperwork Trump signed, it still doesn’t work,” Weber lamented. “I support the president 100% and would like to sit down with him to explain what happened to Jeff and how I think it can be fixed.”
Weber would like to do away with VA healthcare system altogether. He feels it would save the government money if they did things as he proposes.
“My goal and I swear to the American people, is to fix the VA healthcare system in one year,” Weber shared. “We need to privatize it and give vets ID cards and let them go where they need to go.”
A resident of Barnegat for 27 years, Weber grew up in Little Egg Harbor and was in the second graduating class of Pinelands Regional High School. He is a devoted volunteer, starting from his Army days when he was part of the American Red Cross. Weber also sits on the township zoning board and has many years of experience running with the Barnegat First Aid Squad.
As it turns out, Weber is the type of guy that would give you his kidney – if he still could. He can no longer make the offer because he only has one. Almost two decades ago, Weber donated a kidney to a complete stranger.
While veterans’ medical care is his primary concern, Weber has opinions on other issues. He’d like to bring back what he calls “kitchen table finance” and get people talking at home. Weber also believes that the government needs to better address environmental problems. He’s worried that offshore wind energy will hurt fishing and is vehemently opposed to the gas pipeline.
Term limits represent another of Weber’s top priorities as far as his platform. If he does get elected, he doesn’t plan to keep the job for more than two terms.
“I can win this race because my heart is into it, and I am passionate about doing the right thing,” said Weber. “I love my country and I am proud to be an American.”