Golden Globe nominated actor Piper Perabo does not intend to run for public office.
“Not in my future that I know of, no,” she said when asked if she planned to mount a bid for the State Senate against incumbent James Holzapfel (R-Toms River) in the coming years.
Perabo on Tuesday attended a roughly 1,700 strong protest calling for increased state aid to the town’s regional school district on the statehouse steps.
The “Covert Affairs” star has grown increasingly political in recent years.
Last year, she was arrested while protesting U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation and raised money for Rep. Andy Kim’s successful bid to oust Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-Toms River) in 2018.
“I realized a few years ago that I wasn’t paying attention, you know?” Perabo said. “I was taking all of these rights that we have for granted and that I could participate a lot more in my community and as a citizen of my country.”
Tuesday’s protest was a little closer to home.
Perabo attended Toms River High School North as a teenager, crediting the school, in part, with launching her acting career.
“I went to the public schools in Toms River from first grade to twelfth grade,” she said. “The first plays I was ever in were in the Toms River public schools, and when I heard there were these dire cuts to their funding, that these kids were going to suffer — there’s nowhere else to be.”
Toms River hosts one of a number of districts facing funding shortfalls under a new school funding plan passed last July.
Last week, the state announced $854,634 in emergency state aid to the regional district, about 20% of the $4.4 million district officials said they’d need to avoid cuts this year.
The state’s offer, district officials told Politico New Jersey, was “shut up money.”
Were Perabo, the lead actor in the cult classic “Coyote Ugly,” to eye a bid in her hometown, she’d be running as a Democrat in the staunchly-Republican 10th district.
Democrats haven’t held seats there since Gov. Jim Florio’s 1991 midterms, which saw Republicans win a wide majority, which, at the time, their first in more than two decades.
District lines have shifted since then, but the 10th has remained red. This year, Assemblyman Greg McGuckin (R-Toms Rover) and former Brick Councilman John Catalano won their seats by 13 and 12 points, respectively.
It’s possible that Perabo’s celebrity would help her flip the district, though it’s equally possible that the actor’s attitudes towards president Donald Trump, who she frequently lambastes on Twitter, would make her chances little better than those of whichever candidates Ocean County Democrats recruit for the seats.
In either case, Perabo denied intentions of seeking public office, saying she was more than happy in her current field.
“You know, I feel so lucky to have the job that I have,” she said. “It’s the job that I dreamed of as a kid. When I was doing the high school musical, I wanted to become an actor.”