RARITAN, NJ - A Raritan resident for most of his life, and former borough councilman, Don Tozzi considers himself a public servant, and is hoping to have another opportunity to serve the people of Raritan.
“As a public servant, I always put the interest of townspeople and businesses ahead of personal interests,” he said. “For example, during Hurricane Sandy, I was the only councilperson to walk downtown to call upon as many businesses as possible to offer assistance.”
“This included communicating with public service to determine when the outages would be restored to the town,” he added.
Tozzi is running on the Republican ticket in Raritan to serve another term on the council.
Except for a few years after he married his wife, Carrie, Tozzi has lived in Raritan for most of his 53 years.
“I have a deep sense of family and, frankly, I love living in Raritan because it continues to have a small town feel and its residents are friendly,” he said.
A graduate of Bridgewater-Raritan High School West, Tozzi has been self-employed for 34 years in start-up businesses. Now, he is the co-founder of the Basilone Memorial Foundation, a non-profit corporation organized exclusively for charitable purposes.
Tozzi served on the Raritan Borough Council for one term, from 2011 to 2014, before losing his bid for re-election of a second term. While on council, he served as council president for two years.
“I served on the historic committee, public works committee, grounds & recreation committee, Basilone Parade Committee and the Riverfest committee,” he said.
And, Tozzi said, he proposed, introduced and managed the Raritan River Duck Race for four years.
Looking at Raritan and the work ahead, Tozzi said one of the issues he is most concerned about is bringing businesses back to the downtown area.
“The few vacant storefronts and existing businesses complain about the lack of parking, but in order to make Raritan an attractive place to dine, shop and live, these things need to be addressed,” he said.
In addition, Tozzi said, he thinks loitering in Raritan’s downtown section is an area of concern.
“Local businesses continue to complain about loitering and litter on Somerset Street that may hinder customers and potential future customers,” he said.
Tozzi said he would also like to work to reinforce building codes to help both residents and business owners.
“There are opportunities to revisit building codes to improve the quality of life in residential buildings and structure quality in commercial buildings,” he said.
If elected to the council for another three-year term, Tozzi said, there are several issues he would like to address, including keeping taxes low to minimize the impacts on residents and businesses.
In addition, Tozzi said, he would like to keep bulk pick up and garbage collection at no additional cost to the residents, and also focus on keeping the legacy of the Raritan Public Library alive and helping it grow.