The following is a letter to the editor sent to Shore News Network by a life long resident.
My name is Rob Kulessa, I am a lifelong Toms River resident. Aside from 4 years serving in the 101st Airborne Division, I have never left Toms River. In fact, I can honestly say I live 1.85 miles from the home in which I was born way back in 1965. In my lifetime here in Toms River, I have seen drive-ins turned into retail stores, I have seen horse farms turned into McMansions and I have seen once-sleepy cowpaths turned into major thruways.
At first some thought it was cool that we were getting a mall, getting a second and then a third high school and all of the new retail strip malls on route 37 because it meant we were progressive and would no longer be “pineys” or “clamdiggers”. Yet there were many of us who welcomed and took pride in those tags. Go around now and try to find an old school clamdigger, good luck.
It is from this place that I speak about this years primary election on June 8. For as long as I can remember, Toms River has been a Republican town. Our town has always been a bastion of patriotism and conservatism. Yes, we have elected Democrats through the years but they were usually politicians who were ousted after a single term after it became clear their goals and visions for Toms River did not match the residents vision. No, we have been a Republican town and it has been those conservative policies that made Toms River an attractive place to live.
Unfortunately not all is well in our world. We are under a two-pronged attack in our beautiful town. We are under attack from a political organization who for far too long has used our town government as a method of personal enrichment for themselves, their families and their political contributors. This shameful situation needs to end immediately. It was this government and this Mayor that lied to me directly about defending North Dover. He told me on the phone that he would defend the acreage limits on buildings of worship to prevent those McMansions off of Vermont Ave from being converted into Yeshiva’s and synagogues. Once he got my vote (yes, I voted for Mo Hill), he put the knife in my back and supported his TRUE bosses, the Toms River VAAD. We can NOT endure another moment of this sort of duplicity for this town and its future. The other prong of attack is from people moving into our town but do not share our values of conservatism, community and commitment. People can not move in to town because our way of life and our policies have created an affordable real estate opportunity and then try to change that by voting for people who do not share those same values. It, too needs to end immediately.
A few years ago, I first heard the name Dan Rodrick. I did not know him and at first I was not a fan of his political methodology. I thought he was brash and aggressive but now I know one thing he is. He is right, he was the only one on that town council who never wavered in his support of the people of Toms River. He was brash but we come to find out, he was honest. His enemies on the town council fought him constantly. They attempted to censure him and have him removed. Why? Because he was telling the kind of truth politicians hate when their hands are caught in the cookie jar. Dan Rodrick was right then, he is right now and he deserves our support.
Justin Lamb is a tireless and brilliant civil servant. His has been a lifetime of service to our community be it law enforcement, fire service or serving on citizens committees in our town government. I have spoken to Justin many times and feel he is more than ready and worthy to serve as a member of Toms River’s Town Council. His calm demeanor and solid conservatism make him a voice we desperately need on this governing body.
Grace Piscopo is a political newcomer but she is tied to a solid ticket. A 21 year Toms River resident, her conservative, MAGA views will make her a welcome fresh face on the town council.
John Loiacono, a 50 year resident of Toms River and a Korean War veteran brings what this town needs. He is a resident who remembers what Toms River used to look like and what this current local government did to destroy this once great town. He is experienced in business and has served on numerous local committees to benefit the residents of this town. I am truly pleased that another long time Toms River resident is running for local government, it is through Mr. Loiacono’s experience and leadership that we can remember and maybe even return to what once made Toms River a great town to live in.
If you love Toms River as much as I do and truly want the best for this town, join me in voting Column D on June 8, 2021 and lets make Toms River Great Again.
US Army Veteran and Local Small Business Owner