LINDEN — Mayor Richard Gerbounka’s back-to-back endorsements of top Republicans — John McCain in 2008 and Chris Christie in 2009 — is being repaid with a strong endorsement from local GOP activists.
William Palermo, who resigned as GOP chairman in July after a 20-year stint as head of the Republican Party in the city, said he is eager to vote to give Gerbounka a second term Mayor.
“I’m supporting the Republicans, I’m hoping that Rich Gerbounka will be re-elected and I hope that John Miliano will be elected as Council president,” said Palermo, who praised the incumbent’s long record of service and his conservative values.
“He was a former policeman and he’s been here a long time, graduated from Linden High School in 1963,” said Palermo, who adds: “He always tries to do a good job but (Democrats on) the council won’t let him.”
Gerbounka, Miliano and city council candidates running with them are independents, not Republicans, but Linden GOP Chairman Glenn Kuznitz said Gerbounka is doing a good job and taking bold stands on issues.
“He was our 10th Ward Councilman. We want to continue the progress he’s made,” said Glenn Kuznitz. “He’s trying to cut personnel. He laid off 12 firemen and he’s taking some heat for that, but we support it.”
“Linden is going to have to make some sacrifices in the payroll department,” said Glenn Kuznitz. “When voters rejected the school budget, he pushed the council to slash that.”
“We’re Right to Lifers, we believe in the sanctity of life. We are conservative, we don’t want big government and we want people to stand up for what they believe,” said Dora Kuznitz, who is Glenn’s wife and vice chair of the municipal Republican Party. “I don’t know what Gerbounka’s view is on (abortion) but I met him and he’s so polite, I thought he’s a really nice fellow.”
“We supported him when he ran for mayor and we are still supporting him,” said Dora Kuznitz. “He has a proven record. He had a very important job in the city and his heart is here.”
“The Republicans have a very good chance of taking over Congress this year. People voted for change but where we are going is not the right change at all,” said Dora Kuznitz. “On a national level people say they want change and it’s scary change.”
Throughout the campaign, the Mayor has expressed confidence about his prospects for re-election.
Gerbounka recently said that people were angry about a recent $344 property tax increase that was approved by the City Council in August, but tempers have simmered down since then.
Councilman Derek Armstead, Gerbounka’s Democratic opponent, was one of four members of the governing body who voted against the municipal budget that included the hefty tax hike.
Gerbounka and Miliano have been campaigning aggressively in the Sunnyside area and sending mail to voters that proclaims the duo is, “working hard to provide residential tax relief by promoting industrial development.”
The independents also tout their “proven leadership” with calls on voters to “vote people not party.”
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