GOP Nominates Judy Tiedemann as Council Candidate
Unanimous vote ends ex-cop's pursuit of seat.
By a vote of 38-24, the Parsippany Republican Municipal Committee on Monday night selected Judy Tiedemann as its nominee for the unexpired Township Council seat up for grabs on Nov. 6.
After Chairwoman Nicole C. Green called the meeting to order, she said the committee had a statutory obligation to fill the seat left vacant by newly elected Freeholder John Cesaro and currently filled on a temporary basis by current Councilman James Vigilante.
Three prospective candidates sent in letters of intent to run: Vigilante, retired Parsipany Police officer and former Board of Education member Dr. Louis Valori and Tiedemann, a member of the town's Municipal Alliance Committee and a former president of the school board.
Green asked if there were additional nominations from the floor and none came.
Green said each of the three candidates would be allotted three minutes to make a statement and that there would be no questions permitted.
Prior to the statements, Vigilante stood and announced that he was pulling his name from consideration for the nomination.
"I appreciate all you've done for me," he said. "I'm doing it for the Republican Party, to keep it together."
He added that he was making the move out of loyalty.
"Loyalty is what kept me alive for six months," he said, referring to his 2011 Air Force Reserves stint in Afghanistan. "I ask anyone who wanted to support me to support Lou."
Valori was the top committee vote-getter in June when Cesaro stepped down to join the freeholder board and the temporary council seat filler was chosen. Valori didn't get the opportunity to be chosen by the Township Council because he was deemed ineligible because his retirement does not become official until Oct. 1.
"He had his lawyer look at it, I had my lawyer look at it, and he is an eligible candidate," Vigilante said.
Candidate statements came next. By luck of the draw, Tiedemann won the opportunity to choose when she would speak, and she opted to allow Valori to go first.
"I am always a loyal Republican and would never compromise the committee," he said. "If I'm blessed to be selected as the candiate, I have the resources to start campaigning tomorrow against the Democrats. ...
"I promise I will never make the Republican Party look bad."
Tiedemann used part of her three minutes to explain that she did not run for council two years ago because she was still grieving the loss of her daughter, who died in 2003, and caring for her ailing husband.
"For me, family comes first," she asserted.
But Tiedemann said she now was ready to serve.
"I come to you with no hidden agenda, only a strong desire to consensus build and represent you and the members of our wonderful, yet splintering party," she said.
She said her priority was to facilitate open discussion and encouraged people to use their voices at council meetings.
"Public disagreement is part of the process," Tiedemann said. "Agendas, egos and infighting must be checked at the door."
After the statements, the 62 voting members present wrote one name on small neon yellow-green slips of paper that were then collected and counted.
The result came rapidly: Tiedemann earned 38 votes; Valori 24.
Valori accepted the defeat.
"I will support Mrs. Tiedemann 110 percent against the Democrats," he said.
Former Mayor Frank Priore stood and moved that the committee give its nominee a unanimous vote "in the name of party unity."
In a voice vote, the members complied and gave Tiedemann a round of applause.
Vigilante was asked if he planned to serve out the rest of his term.
"Absolutely," he said, pledging his support for the committee's nominee. "I will remain on the council until the day after the election."
For her part, Tiedemann said she was ready to go.
After the vote, the newly minted candidate said she had been encouraged to run by numerous people in her party.
"I have the time and the desire to do my part to make this town a better place," Tiedemann said.
Asked whether she expected women to turn out to support her, she said, "I hope so, but I'm running as a candidate."
Tiedemann said her hope is that the party will be able to maintain its singular hold on the mayor's seat and the Town Council.
"Republicans and Independents have a big part to play," she said. "Independents have a lot of power and deserve to be heard."
"They do too," she quickly added, noting that Annelise Catanzaro, who chairs the Municipal Alliance Committee and is one of the few Democrats chosen to participate in local government, is a good friend.
Tiedemann said she will run promising to be a responsive council member committed to "conservative fiscal responsibility."
The Republican nominee will face Democratic nominee Jonathan Nelson.
"I congratulate Mrs. Tiedemann, but as I've consistently said, this council race is not about Nelson or Tiedemann," he said. "It's about having a township council that represents all of Parsippany.
"This year alone, the Township Council approved a $20,000 infomercial scam and an outrageously overpriced town website," Nelson continued. "Parsippany residents demand our Township Council challenge the mayor's budget instead of rubberstamping each and every line item. I believe that I am the person best suited for that job."
Voters will make that decision during the special council election on Nov. 6.