Government of the People, By the People, For the People

I don’t know Assemblywoman Serena DiMaso other than as the professional she is as the Assemblywoman representing the 13th legislative district of New Jersey. I remember her as the Mayor of Holmdel, but I rarely am in or around Holmdel so I guess I didn’t pay much attention to her there. But I certainly thought she did a terrific job as Freeholder. She and Freeholder (ok, now Commissioner to be proper) Lillian Burry were both dynamite standing up for everything they both believe in and fighting tooth and nail to get it. Commissioner Burry still is doing that by the way, although it doesn’t seem the rest of the county commissioners even know she exists. For these reasons, along with the fact that I have seen Serena at every event to which she was invited or should have appeared in Highlands Atlantic Highlands and Middletown, and I’m sure she’s done the same thing in Sea Bright to Union Beach, I whole heartedly supported her for another term in Trenton. Let’s face it. These are tough times for the minority party in the state capital. Republicans need a strong, determined, and never-say-die attitude among its elected officials. Serena did all this. But somewhere along the line I guess she didn’t follow the bidding of the GOP chairman in Monmouth County. I don’t know this, because of course, he never told any of us constituents that he didn’t think Serena was doing a good job in Trenton. Nor did he tell us she ought to be replaced until the very last minute. In fact, he didn’t even ask us who her replacement should be. He just appeared out of the clouds one day, said Serena with all her grace and experience wasn’t good enough, and another lady from Holmdel who may or may not ever have been in Trenton or may or may not even know what an Assemblyman does, would be better than the experienced, highly respected veteran. So the GOP Committee had its routine election the other night, a convention that was anything but routine. It started 40 minutes late because there were so many problems with people trying to get on to the Zoom meeting, trying to hear, trying to see who else was there, wondering how they were going to vote, asking where their ballot was. In short, it was a mess. But to the credit of party leaders and their tech staff, the show finally went on, candidates were introduced, could talk for three minutes, then committee members could go to their e-mails, get their ballots, vote if they could, or call their local chairman if they couldn’t, and voila! Another Convention over and done with. The result wasn’t pretty. There were numerous problems, from the two kinds of balloting offered to the fact in order to vote for one assembly candidate, you were FORCED to vote for two. That’s right. Whether you liked a second choice for the two seats or whether you did not, in order to cast ONE ballot for ONE candidate, you have to vote for TWO. Yep, right here in the United States of America. The land of freedom and choice. Well, Assemblywoman Serena DiMaso lost. And here’s why I like her even more now and truly want her to be my assemblywoman fighting for me in Trenton. She didn’t throw up her arms and start screaming “foul!” She didn’t yell she was robbed because she lost. She didn’t do anything that would make me lose respect for her. Instead, she issued a statement: "Thank you to everyone for your wonderful support and your kind words, my heart is full. While last night's county convention didn't turn out the way we had hoped, I am truly blessed with friends and family like yourselves. Make no mistake I will continue to fight, for you, for our children and for what's right. I represent you. This seat belongs to you and for as long as I am in it, your voice will always be heard." So besides, being a fighter, Serena is a lady! Besides being knowledgeable about New Jersey law, Serena is calm and collected. Besides being a woman who can stand up against insults, ridicule, dishonesty and unfairness, Serena shows gratitude. She might be a fighter and a politician, but Serena DiMaso is also a lady. That bodes well for all of us. Because of this election the other night, Serena will not be on the ballot in June under the GOP banner. But hopefully, and she hasn’t really announced this yet, though she’s hinted at it, she might mount a challenge to the party Chairman’s choice. If she does, her name will be in a separate column, and voters will have their choice of electing her as well as either the other incumbent or the new lady from Holmdel, since we will still have two Assembly representatives along with Senator Declan O’Scanlon. I for one hope Assemblywoman Serena DiMaso chooses to run independently as a Republican in the June primary. When ladies like Commissioner Burry, former Deputy Governor Kim Guadagno, the Holmdel Mayor and so many others who have worked with Serena show such support for her in the face of the party Chairman’s personal dislike, it convinces me more than ever that she indeed is doing the job she was elected to do and will continue to do for another term and beyond.