SOMERVILLE, NJ – Last weekend, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy was joined by Somerset County Democrat Candidates for Sheriff and Freeholder for a tour of businesses in downtown Somerville.

In response, Republican candidates for Sheriff and Freeholder, Bill Parenti and Pat Walsh issued the following statement:    

“The Murphy-Russo-Marano team threatens our quality of life by pushing to make New Jersey a sanctuary state and by searching for new ways to raise taxes on us,” said Parenti and Walsh. “We’ll stand up and fight to keep Somerset County a safe and affordable place to live.”

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At a League of Women Voters forum held earlier this month, Russo balked on answering a question on whether he would honor Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainers. Parenti, on the other hand, noted that he would cooperate and work with federal law enforcement officers to better secure our communities and keep Somerset County safe and strong.

“As law enforcement officers, it is our job to uphold the Constitution and protect our citizens,” said Parenti. “I call on my opponent to denounce the Governor’s sanctuary state directive and let our families sleep at ease knowing we won’t be releasing serious criminal offenders onto our streets.”

At the same forum, Russo’s running mate, former Green Brook mayor Melonie Marano, said that Governor Murphy’s recently enacted rain tax was a “good idea” and that she aspires to turn Somerset County into the California of the East. Marano, in just two years, increased property taxes in Green Brook Township by 23 percent, while increasing her taxpayer-funded salary, according to an independent analysis of Green Brook Township Budgets, 2008 and 2009 and a Compensation History of Green Brook Township, 2004-2009, New Jersey Open Public Records Request.

“Listen, the voters in Green Brook were not fooled by Melonie’s tax and spend policies. She was ousted as Mayor in nine months in a historic landslide,” said Walsh. “Of course she thinks a rain tax is a good idea – she’s never met a tax increase she didn’t agree with. Somerset County can’t afford a tax hiking politician like Melonie Marano.”