Hawthorne Party Leaders Reflect on Election and Women in Politics

Municipal Chairwomen Joni Huston (Republican Party) and Jayne Ace-Bosgra (Democratic Party)

Hawthorne, NJ - Tuesday’s election in Hawthorne will be returning the Goldberg administration in tact to their seats for another term.  “Congratulations, Mayor and Councilmen,” Hawthorne Republican Chairwoman Joni Huston announced.  “Republicans have proven that when we stick together and help each other, we can accomplish anything.”    

Democratic Chairwoman Jayne Ace-Bosgra also had supportive words for her party following their electoral defeat by the incumbents.  “While we, of course, would have preferred to prevail in this year’s general election that would have balanced out the borough’s representation among the mayor and council, we are pleased with the noticeable victories we are able to glean from this election cycle.”

One of the salient features of the tickets run in Hawthorne was that parties presented not only a choice of red versus blue, but a choice of men versus women.  Both the Hawthorne Republicans and Democrats are chaired by women.  However, the Republican incumbents, Mayor Richard Goldberg, Councilmen Bruce Bennett, Dominic Mele, and John Lane, presented an all-male line while the Democrats presented an all-female ticket for the mayor and council positions with Naomi Collier, Cindy Frank, Jackie Burrows, and Meaghan Tuohey.  Independent candidate Phil Speulda and all four of the Board of Education candidates were men: three Michaels—Sciarra, Jarvis, and Doyle—and Anthony Puluse. 

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In 2013, another female candidate ran against Mayor Goldberg, Lois Cuccinello, with a difference of approximately 20% of voters favoring the incumbent mayor at the end of the race.  “Going into this election cycle we were concerned that running a slate of all women could distract from our individual qualifications and overall message.  The good news is that it did not happen nearly as much as it could have,” said Ace-Bosgra. “However, we were certainly asked on numerous occasions, ‘why all women?’  To that we simply replied, ‘have you ever asked the other side why all men?’  For the most part, this response shifted the attention of those conversations and allowed us to focus on our platform.”

“We have Republican women in town working on boards and committees,” Huston said.  “I think a lot of it is just about having the time to step up and make the commitment.  I can guarantee that there will be Republican women running for office in Hawthorne in the future.”

Across the state of New Jersey, as referenced in TAPinto Hawthorne’s article here, voter turn-out was lower than the previous election cycle.  Much of this was attributed to a lack of excitement generated by the gubernatorial election race, which pitted Goldman-Sachs executive and former US Ambassador Phil Murphy against Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno, who served Gov. Chris Christie in both of his terms in office.  “Clearly, based on the poor voter turnout, engagement is key to improving our borough,” Ace-Bosgra said.  “Our hope is that the borough’s Republican party will take notice, recognize the importance of increasing public engagement, and make an effort to involve more of our citizens, which can only help to improve our borough overall.”

A low turn-out did not significantly reduce the overall margin of the Republicans’ victory in town, which will see Mayor Richard Goldberg assuming the borough’s chief office for another four years.  Goldberg will have served thirteen years in office at the end of his upcoming term--having defeated Joseph Wojtecki and taken up the mantel in 2008 following the resignation of Mayor Patrick Botbyl--and all of the councilmen have served multiple terms themselves.  Nevertheless, the Democrats in town cited the reduced number of citizens headed to the polls as a mark against the victors.  “Voter apathy does not mean that everyone is happy with the status quo,” Ace-Bosgra said, “but rather that they either do not care, or do not know what is going on in their own borough, which is unfortunate and should be addressed by our elected officials.”

Huston told TAPinto Hawthorne, “We are all neighbors trying to support our wonderful community; we all have to work together, regardless of party or religion or anything else, it’s just who we are.  We help each other out.”

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