Good morning, my friends. I’m thrilled to see so many gathered with us today.
Looking out at all of you, I just want to say thank you for braving the cold as we embark upon this journey.
I don’t know about you, but I am sick and tired of people in Trenton who talk a good game but fail to deliver for the people they serve. Our towns deserve leaders who do the work we sent them there to do. Those who are more committed to solving problems than they are to grabbing headlines.
That is why I stand before you, with pride of purpose and a humble heart, to proudly declare my candidacy for State Senator.
I’m the third generation of my family to call Monmouth County home. Growing up, like so many of our neighbors, my parents sometimes struggled to make ends meet.
I can remember them making twenty dollars last until payday. And yet our life was rich in blessings. I rode my bike through neighborhoods with friends, free to have fun but knowing that around every corner there was an aunt, uncle, or maybe someone else’s aunt or uncle, there to keep an eye on you. The big parades of fire trucks and marching American Legionnaires on Memorial Day. The fireworks on the Fourth of July. We are blessed to be from here.
We live in communities where people look out for one another. A place where you help a neighbor in need, lift up those who serve as police or volunteer first responders, and above all else, take pride in where you come from.
I saw that firsthand in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. The morning after the storm, as an Army National Guard officer I went door to door in Union Beach to check on older people and the disabled. In the months that followed, it was people that powered us through. Fine Americans who stepped up and showed through their courage, selfless service, and resilience that we never give up.
One year ago next month, I was called to active duty to respond to a different type of crisis. Unlike Superstorm Sandy, COVID-19 is an invisible enemy. Our economy has been hit with a one-two punch – the first wave and then the second wave.
What’s worse, we’ve lost family, friends, and neighbors. For a long time, funeral homes were closed and we weren’t even able to properly mourn them.
From March to August, I was out with the National Guard during the height of the virus’ first wave. During those dark days, not just here in Monmouth County but across
this great state, I saw people looking out for one another: supporting small business and ensuring that by our words and deeds we protected the most vulnerable among us.
You know, I’ve served our country at home and abroad. And let me tell you, every day, in our community, I see heroes among us. Essential workers, neighbors helping neighbors. Heroes who are the first to arrive and the last to leave. Everyday folks ready to bear any burden in defense of our beautiful state.
You can knock us down but together we are going to help each other get right back up.
Let’s hear it for our frontline workers and first responders. As your State Senator, I will always support our police officers, firefighters, and emergency medical technicians. If you’re a neighbor helping a neighbor, know this: I’ve got your back.
The values that these heroes live by – opportunity, responsibility, and hard work – they’re missing in Trenton. We need leaders responsible to those who elect them, and not to the special interests.
I’m Vincent Solomeno and I believe that we can win elections without taking a dime from corporate PACs. I challenge my opponent to do the same.
As State Senator, my priorities include ending annual property tax assessments by repealing the disastrous Assessment Demonstration Program (ADP), repairing our infrastructure, and providing world class education for learners of every age.
To do this we do not have to raise taxes on small businesses and the middle class. We have to focus on our people.
My first act will be to introduce legislation that repeals the ADP and ends annual
property tax assessments.
I can hear your reply, “Every New Jersey politician gets up there and talks about property taxes.” You’re right. We do. The difference this time is that we’ve got a defined problem and I know how we can solve it. For the last six years, ADP’s annual adjustments to an individual home or commercial property’s assessed value has wreaked havoc and hurt so many hard working people. I’m running against the guy who literally wrote the law that created this harmful program.
I live on a quiet street in Hazlet. My own two bedroom Cape Cod, on a 75’ by 100’ lot, has gone up $75,000 in assessed value. My taxes tracked with it. 23% since my opponent and our current senator Declan O’Scanlon ushered it through the Legislature and ADP hit the streets.
And do you know that out of 21 counties in New Jersey we are the only one that has to suffer under this system? No one else has annual property tax assessments. Just Monmouth County.
ADP has been a disaster for taxpayers and a windfall for the special interests and the politically connected. Not only do our actual taxes go up, but The Asbury Park
Press found that we paid millions to well connected insiders to implement the thing.
This is Senator O’Scanlon’s gift to us and it’s been costing you and me an arm and a leg for far too long.
He wrote the law to start it. On Day One, I’ll write the law to end it.
We have to invest in our infrastructure. How many of you are tired of losing electricity more times than you care to count? I speak with mayors and town administrators who can’t find solutions for residents because Trenton refuses to force the power companies to do better. We’re going to do better.
When I’m State Senator, we’re going to support our schools while also thinking differently. Today, there are fifty-one school districts in Monmouth County. Tomorrow,
if we got our act together, we could consolidate administrative functions into one countywide administrative school district. We could take the budget dollars saved and put them where they belong: towards educating kids.
My friends, the solutions I offer are not liberal or conservative, Democratic or Republican. They’re rooted in my upbringing in the Bayshore, my experience as an Army officer, and my service here in our community. More than ever, especially as we chart a course to the other side of this pandemic, we need to get creative and we need to think differently.
Together, let’s build a future that provides opportunity for those who are willing to work hard for themselves and their families. So if you believe in jump-starting our economy as we fight COVID 19. If you believe in jobs, education, and affordability. If you just expect better from the elected officials whose salaries you pay for. If you’re tired of tax hikes and more corruption, then join our campaign for New Jersey State Senate.
This is a time to begin again, and that is why I ask for your help, and that is why I ask for your vote. It might be difficult, but so is everything worth fighting for.