BERNARDS TWP., NJ - Two Republicans who are first-time candidates for Bernards Township Committee, Joseph Esposito and John Surano, recently announced the official launch of their campaign at the Allen Street gazebo in downtown Basking Ridge.

Esposito and Surano, both officially endorsed by the local Republican Committee, were accompanied by other Republican officials and candidates as they spoke of their goals and backgrounds at the gazebo. The gazebo is the traditional location for campaign launches in Bernards Township.

The speeches given by the candidates and such officials as U.S. Rep. Leonard Lance (R-Dist. 7), Somerset County Freeholder Director Patrick and Scaglione and other speakers again reinforced previous campaign themes that Republican leadership has been the basis for the township's strengths. Scaglione said that Bernards Township and Somerset County are in the "top 1 percent of the top 1 percent of fiscally responsible governments.

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However, on a local level, Esposito said that the new leaders must also reflect the changes within the Bernards community. 

"As our township changes, its leaders owe it to all residents to change with it. We must learn what is important to all residents and their families and to provide the framework that allows every Bernards citizen, young and old, to feel the sense of community that we all must share," Esposito said in his speech.

The Bernards Township Democratic candidates announced their campaign a week later. Their speeches are also posted online on TAP Into Basking Ridge.

The campaign speeches, as submitted by the candidates, are below.


I am honored to be here with you as a first-time candidate, yet one that has been welcomed and embraced so warmly and with such support.

Seeking public office is new to me. Perhaps it was a destination I had in mind when I applied for and was accepted into the Leadership Somerset program two years ago, but it wasn’t until I felt an obligation to this community to join the group of smart, motivated, and engaged citizens in their efforts with a local issue last October, that the path was set. And before I forget _ I again want to thank the Somerset County Freeholders _ both past and present _ for their sponsorship of the Leadership Somerset program.

Getting involved _ and seeing that involvement making a difference and preserving the bucolic character of Bernards Township _ has inspired me to stay involved. I look forward to having the opportunity to bring my legal and financial background, my entrepreneurial spirit, and my enthusiasm and passion to the service of the people of Bernards.

John and I look forward to being two fresh sets of eyes on the Township Committee as we embark on a review of our Master Plan, as we review existing and draft new ordinances, as we continue to hire the best personnel to run and protect this town on a daily basis, as we find more efficient ways to manage and maintain our parks and streets, to support the programs offered by our recreation department and senior centers, and to maintain our first-class infrastructure and volunteer organizations.

All of us here today, love to call Bernards Township, our home. While we love what Bernards Township is, we also must recognize that it is changing _ our population continues to grow, and we are culturally more diverse. As our Township changes, its leaders owe it to all residents to change with it. We must learn what is important to all residents and their families and to provide the framework that allows every Bernards citizen, young and old, to feel the sense of community that we all must share.

That is why John and I want to be your leaders that listen. To listen to the voice of all residents. But make no mistake about it, we are only advocates of evolution and not revolution. We need to keep our town (and County) under the stewardship of Republican leaders who are responsible for the great quality of life offered by Bernards Township and Somerset County.

John and I would be honored to have your support and help in making sure that occurs in November.  Please, follow us on social media and find ways to personally get involved. Thank you.


Thank you, Rich [Bianchi] for those kind words. We appreciate everything you do. Thank you to Congressman Lance, Freeholder Director Scaglione and Freeholder Caliguire for supporting us this morning and thank you to all our friends and family who came out today. This is what local grass roots politics looks like and is all about. I am proud to be on the same ticket with such esteemed company.

As a lifelong resident and lifelong Republican, I am completely vested in ensuring the quality of life we have come to expect here in Bernards Township: Great infrastructure, one of the safest communities in both the state and the nation, holding the line on taxes, pay as we go and debt free. It is no accident that Republican leadership has put Bernards Township on the map as the destination to live and raise a family. It’s no accident that Republican leadership has made Bernards Township the model for local township government that values fiscal responsibility and individual freedoms.

There are those who seek office that do not understand the importance of fiscal responsibility. There are those who seek office who don’t understand the relationship between quality of life and overspending and overdevelopment. As Bernards Township Republicans, we understand our conservative principles are the cornerstone of the character of our town. As Bernards Township Republicans, we earn the public trust by providing the best services to our residents at the least cost to the taxpayers.

Our residents deserve this leadership and have come to expect it. And our residents are constantly challenging us to raise the bar. And we’re listening. Moving forward, we need to embrace our ever changing demographics and include groups to grow our Republican party. Collaborative leadership coupled with our conservative principles is how Joe and I will rise to the challenge.

I am both humbled and honored to have Joe Esposito as my running mate. Together, we are the leaders who will listen and we will deliver the representation you deserve. Together we are ready to lead Bernards Township and together we are committed to do what’s best for Bernards.

Thank you for your support in the upcoming primary election on June 5th and onward in the November general election.  God bless everyone and your families.