Hamilton, Matteson to run for state legislature

Democrats in Sussex County continue to stand up and proclaim themselves, and Tuesday night two of them announced plans to do so in Trenton.

hamilton-matteson-450.jpgAt the meeting of the Sparta Municipal Democratic Committee, Jennifer Hamilton of Sparta announced her plan to run for the state senate. Incumbent Steven Oroho holds the seat and is her likely opposition, despite being challenged by Gail Phoebus, now an assembly member.

At the same meeting Kate Matteson, also from Sparta, said she is going to challenge the GOP team for a spot in the assembly.

Neither woman has held public office before (but in view of the current president, “no government experience seems to be a positive” quipped Matteson); they are part of the army of newly inspired activists determined to change our state’s direction.

“There comes a time when you have to step up,” said Hamilton, a lawyer with a practice in Lake Hopatcong. “If you don’t become active, then you don’t have a right to complain.”

She wants to serve in the state Senate, she says, because she doesn’t feel the people of our area are currently being well served: “I don’t feel like anyone is representing us.”

Matteson, a paralegal who was born in Stillwater and went to school in Los Angeles and Boston before returning to Sussex County, echoed the sentiment, saying the current delegation ignores issues such as the environment, especially odd considering the natural beauty of the region, and education. Her long residence in the county—coupled with a broad background that includes single working mom, married stay at home mom, business owner, farmer, poverty and affluence—gives her the needed perspective to ensure everyone has a voice, she says.

Neither candidate is intimidated by the county’s reputation for strong conservatism, noting that while there are half as many registered Democrats as Republicans, the number of unaffiliated registered voters is more than twice these in total, plus, added Christie, many registered Republicans are more moderate than the current climate would have one believe.

On a more personal, nonpolitical note, current Sparta High School student Jared Chiariello, son of SCDC vice chairman Dan Chiariello, announced his run for a seat on the Sparta Board of Education, where, he said, he would represent his peers and, in the face of budgets “cuts that I know are coming,” stand up for students as those decisions are being made.