BRICK – It was a clean sweep for local Democrats this election season, with Council President Andrea Zapcic and Council members Lisa Crate and Art Halloran winning re-election. The only newcomer was Vincent Minichino, who will be taking Councilman Jim Fozman’s seat.
Fozman began his political career in Brick as a Democrat but switched parties in the spring of 2018. He ran for re-election, but lost. Republicans Victoria Chadwick, Max Flores and Neil Napolitano also ran during this cycle.
Minichino is a business agent for Local 469 in Hazlet. In a phone interview a few days after the election, he explained that part of what he does is go from town to town or from company to company to negotiate contracts for workers.
He also goes from shop to shop to make sure that there are no issues and no contract violations.
Minichino ran for County Freeholder last year just to get his name out there, knowing that the “end game was Brick councilman…they called me the sacrificial lamb because they knew a Democrat running for Freeholder was futile,” he said.
“The Brick council is on the right path and I just want to help them move forward and progress,” he said. “I knew I was joining a winning team.”
He said he is willing to serve on any council committee on which he is needed.
“I stole a saying from Senator (Robert) Menendez, who I met in a rally recently,” Minichino said. “He said if you want to move forward, put your car in ‘D’ for Democrats. If you want to go in reverse, put your car in ‘R’ for Republican.”
Board of Education incumbents Daisy Haffner and Melita Gagliardi were also successful in their re-election bids, winning out over candidates Joseph Aulisi, Jr., a former sergeant in the Ocean County Prosecutor’s office; John Barton, a teacher in Jackson and former Board of Education member; and Cassidy “Cas” Busa and Robert “Rob” Canfield, who ran together under the “It’s Reform Time” banner.
Haffner said there is no quick fix to the problems the district is facing, while having to balance limited funds while providing a safe and secure learning environment.
“We must continue to focus our energy and attention to the needs of the whole child, so we can provide opportunity and growth for every student,” Haffner said.
Gagliardi said the board has to grapple with the loss of millions in state aid while continuing to serve and advocate for all district students.
“I would love for our district to continue its quest in providing not only…the best academics, but also ensuring that our students are emotionally, socially well-adjusted and are able to become productive citizens of society,” she said.
Zapcic got the most votes for a council member at 8,401, followed by Crate at 8,063. Also, Halloran scored 8,016 votes and newcomer Minichino received 7,875 votes.
Chadwick was the top vote-getter for the Republicans at 7,030, followed by Flores at 6,768. Napolitano scored 6,696 votes and Fozman got 6,353 votes.
The Board of Education votes were close, with Gagliardi winning 3,919, Haffner 3,879, Aulisi 3,543, and Barton at 3,487.
Canfield received 2,600 votes and Busa scored 1,815.