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Council Seats 1st Democrat in 26 Years

Jonathan Nelson said local government isn't the solution to Parsippany's problems, its citizens working together is.

Jonathan Nelson is the Parsippany Town Council's newest member. 

The 44-year-old Democrat, the first from his party to be elected to the council in nearly three decades, was sworn in during a brief ceremony at the start of the council's Tuesday night meeting.

"As a Democrat, I feel like I'm facing a firing squad," joked state Sen. and former Gov. Richard Codey, as he prepared to administer the oath of office to Nelson. Then he offered the new councilman a piece of advice.

"Your job is to be a watchdog," Codey said. "But nobody likes a dog that barks all night. Work with them when they're right, but speak up when they are wrong."

With that, the oath was read and repeated, and an enthusiastic round of applause filled Council Chambers. Then Councilman Nelson shared a few words.

First, he singled out two people for special thanks: former Mayors Marceil "Mimi" Letts and Frank B. Priore.

Nelson then promised to be a legislator who would represent all the people of Parsippany.

He conceded that there could be differences of opinion between himself and his fellow council members.

"I used an old Ed Koch statement when I was campaigning," he said. "If you agree with me on nine out of 12 issues, vote for me. If you agree with me on 12 out of 12, get psychiatric help."

He asserted that residents should not expect government to do things for them. Instead, he said that people working together with leaders could solve the problems that face Parsippany.

"Government isn't the solution," Nelson said. "Fifty thousand people working together is."

Nelson said a lot of important issues need to be addressed in the township and he pledged to work hard to stand up for the residents while working with his new council colleagues.

On Nov. 6, Nelson defeated Republican nominee Judy Tiedemann to fill the one-year unexpired term. The vote finally was certified by Morris County Clerk Joan Bramhall Monday morning, allowing the swearing in to proceed as planned.

Carol M. November 22, 2012 at 12:39 PM
I agree with Mr Crawford here. Are posters really hung up on something that happened 30 or so years ago; my goodness move on with your lives. Mr Nelson is gracious in recognizing all those who are working in their own capacity to continue to try and do good for our community and I applaud him for that. He's not offering anyone a job at Town Hall, he's simply saying thank you. I would like to think that many could learn from Mr Nelson's example, blind to partisan gratitude which will hopefully help lead to the much needed blind to partisan solutions
Sick of the trolls November 22, 2012 at 01:20 PM
No, Clyde, we will not hire you to babysit our kids. Get off it. On a realistic note, former Mayor Priore is still a resident of Parsippany, and still active politically. Nelson thanking him probably has something to do with that. Why don't you settle down "Clyde", if that's your real name.
ANGELA November 25, 2012 at 11:51 AM
IT SEEMS INFANTILE TO ME THAT MR. NELSON IS BEING MALIGNED REGARDING WHO HE THANKED - LET'S GIVE HIM A CHANCE - AT LEASE MR. PRIORE PAID HIS DEBT - I AM STILL TRYING TO FIGURE OUT WHY JOHN MONTEFUSCO HAS STILL NOT BEEN SENTENCED 4 YRS. AFTER PLEADING GUILTY TO MAIL FRAUD AND WHAT HAPPENED TO THE LAW SUIT THE TOWN WAS SUPPOSED TO INITIATE AGAINST HIM.....MAYBE HE IS CONNECTED??????
Michael Brancato November 25, 2012 at 01:19 PM
Angela, WHY ARE YOU YELLING? Trust me, we can all hear you. Common Internet courtesy is to not type in all caps, it's interpreted as yelling. Usually, it identifies one as a nutbag to be ignored. Just FYI. (That's an acronym, not yelling.)
Dan Grant November 25, 2012 at 06:45 PM
A hearty congratulations to Mr. Nelson, Politically he has done what no other Democrat has done in a very long time. As a fellow Democrat from a neighboring town I can tell him that being a lone Democrat on an otherwise all Republican body has it's rewards. Truth be told most of the issues faced at the local level are not partisan at all. I am sure he already knows that. It is more about public service and giving transparency to issues the public may not otherwise have. PS. I had a meeting with former Mayor Priore in my first month of office in 1990 over sewer issues between Montville and Parsippany. He was gracious in explaining the issues from Parsippany's side. From a non-partisan perspective he was a very effective Mayor and I would remind the people here, very popular, He won his last election while going through the Legal System so I guess the Majority of voters in Parsippany felt the same.

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