MONTVILLE, NJ -- In the Township of Montville, there are a lot of proud, active individuals trying to make a difference in the county communities. One of those proud individuals is Stephanie Gist Sharratt, chair of the Montville Township Republican County Committee.

Originally from Paterson, Sharratt has been a Montville resident since 1988, where she has lived with her husband, six children, 10 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. The Sharratts are a proud military family, with her husband, 10 uncles and two sons having served, and are active in local politics.

“At age 18, my mother told me to register as a Democrat and vote blue on every ticket from top to bottom,” said Sharratt. “For many years, I did just that but over time, I began to lose faith in the party that I was raised to believe in. In 2016, when I was faced with the choice between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Neither resonated with me, and I felt lost inside the only party I had ever known.”

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Sharratt said a friend gave her a printed copy of the Democratic Party and Republican Party platforms and simply encouraged me to read both, so that I could be more well-informed.

"I read the description of each party carefully, and a notion came over me that took my breath away. ‘I am a Republican,’ I thought to myself. ‘I’ve always been a Republican. I just didn’t know it,’” Sharratt said. “The realization shook me at my core. A lifetime of blue swept away as the realization of my conservative beliefs came crashing towards me like a wave of reality. I am a conservative. All of this time, I had never questioned my 18-year-old self who voted the Democratic ticket from top to bottom. When faced with the reality of what that decision means, I knew it wasn’t representative of what I believe is best for our nation. I had no choice but to walk away from the Democratic Party.”

As Sharratt walked away, she went to join the local Montville Township Republican Club, along with her husband, ran for the open county committee seat for her district. After winning the seat in 2016, there was a county re-organization on both the municipal and county levels. She was then voted as chair of the Municipal Republican Committee and as a member of the winning slate on the Morris County Republican Committee (MCRC).

Sharratt took great pride in her new Republican role and the choices she made for her community. But nowadays, she and others have taken on a big project, in light of recent police-related shootings, Black Lives Matter rallies and racial rioting.

“When all this rioting began, and all police officers were being painted with the same wide brush, we at the Morris County Republican Committee followed the president’s example to support our law enforcement officers,” Sharratt said. “The Morris County Republican Committee had signs printed, stating simply 'WE SUPPORT OUR POLICE,' with an American flag and our website. Defunding the police is not the answer! Supporting the police and properly funding them is a more positive approach to ending the violence on the streets.”

The first rally held by the MCRC and the Republican Club was in Montville at the corner of Bloomfield Avenue and Changebridge Road on Aug. 8, with nine volunteers. With a positive reception, the groups gathered again on Aug. 13 on the same intersection.

The next rally occurred on Aug. 15 with 32 volunteers; 16 on each end of Changebridge Road. This event garnered great praise by the Montville police chief on the township’s Facebook page. Many more police officers even rode by the area to express their thanks.

The “Support Your Local Police” rallies have not occurred in Montville alone. More rallies since have occurred in West Caldwell at Bloomfield and Passaic Avenues, in Caldwell by the town’s “Black Lives Do Matter” sign at Roseland and Bloomfield Avenues on Aug. 22, and in Parsippany on New Road and Route 46 on Aug. 29. Yet, the biggest rally that the groups have had so far was on Sept. 5 in Wharton on the Shoprite/Costco intersection, featuring more than 50 volunteers.

The MCRC and Republican Club do not intend to stop there.

“Our next rally will be in Denville on Sept. 19, and we hope this one will be even bigger,” said Sharratt. “Our goal here is to encourage the citizens of America and the law enforcement officers that those of us who care about our country and maintaining law and order can stand together and show our support for each other. We wanted to give back some positivity and demonstrate that what is being shown on the T.V. screens is not what America stands for. We want to show people that if we stand together for what is right and good in this nation, we can save our nation from those who want to destroy her from within!”

 

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