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Assembly Candidate Raich Ponders His Future

Casting his vote, the Lake Hiawatha man known for ruffling political feathers considers what he'll do whether he wins or loses.

The electoral quiet continues at the Rockaway Meadow Elementary School polling place. Turnout for the 2011 General Election continues to be low despite the state, county and municipal races and the presence of a ballot question concerning legalizing sports gambling on the ballot. 

One of the names on the legislative portion of the ballot is Joseph Raich, who is a Lake Hiawatha-area gadfly and Democratic candidate for the state General Assembly.

"Voting looks like it's light today," Raich said, sounding a little disappointed. "I'm eager to get some of my issues resolved that predominate throughout the state."

Those issues, according to the candidate, involve "the natural disasters" that have plagued Parsippany over the last few months.

"People on the Patch have said they're not satisfied with the performance of the utility companies in cleaning up after the October snowstorm, and I'm still not satisfied with the information we've gotten about United Water and its dealing with Hurricane Irene," he said. "They call it global warming; I call it global extremes." 

Raich said he doesn't believe enough preparation is done by the federal, state and local governments to better avert the problems—power outages, flooding, etc.—that have beset thousands of Par-Troy residents. These are things he said he plans to address should he emerge victorious after the Tuesday polling. 

"Even if I don't win, I will continue to pursue these issues as a concerned citizen," he said.

Raich said he will spend Election Day talking to as many voters as he can.

"And I'll make sure I stay 100 feet away from any polling place," he said with a laugh.

More seriously, he said that if he does not win his race for assemblyman, he hopes that the incumbent legislators, Republicans Jay Webber and Alex DeCroce, will look into the situation regarding emergency response, utility restration and shared services. 

"I hope to win, of course, but if I don't, I hope they will call on me to help address these matters," he said. 

Of course, there is time to go before we find out who will win and who will lose. Polls close tonight at 8 p.m., so there is plenty of time for registered voters in Parsippany to cast their ballots.

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