Reina & Bressi are winners in Jackson


On Election Day, Nov. 3, Michael Reina, who was appointed mayor of Jackson when the former mayor resigned, won the right to complete the unexpired term, and Kenneth Bressi won a Jackson Township Council seat that runs through 2012.

“It is an honor to be chosen by the town, the way the votes came out,” Reina said. “It just proves that forward-thinking and having your own mind …. I’m still shocked. To be told that you were appointed mayor and then be chosen by the amount of people that selected me … That [shows] they were happy with what I have done.”

Reina said serving as Jackson’s mayor is an honor and a privilege he does not take lightly. He said many people called to congratulate him on his victory.

In a field of four candidates seeking to complete the mayor’s term that will run through June 30, 2010, Reina received 6,150 votes, Michael Kafton received 4,510 votes, Angelo Stallone received 1,779 votes and John Gaskill received 985 votes.

Kafton is the current president of the Jackson Township Council and will retain that position.

Stallone is a former member of the Jackson Township Council.

There were 13,444 votes cast in the mayor’s race, according to information provided by the municipality.

In May 2010 there will be an election for a full four-year mayor’s term. The winner of that election will become Jackson’s mayor on July 1. Jackson has a nonpartisan form of government and conducts municipal elections in May.

Due to a series of circumstances that occurred in local government in the past year, a special municipal election was held on Nov. 3.

Commenting after the election, Kafton said he will continue his fight “to protect our environment, work toward bringing in clean commercial ratables, making our roads safer and so much more.”

Stallone said, “I want to congratulate Mr. Reina on his win and I wish him well. I hope he follows through on supporting the police department because they are severely understaffed and need to acquire more personnel to keep the town safe.”

Gaskill congratulated Reina and said he was proud of his own showing.

“I am very proud of my showing, running as an independent and gathering 8 percent of the vote,” he said. “I hope he (Reina) does a good job, [but remember] May is just around the corner.”

Bressi was Reina’s running mate in the election and will take his place as a councilman and serve through 2012. Bressi defeated current councilman Howard Tilis, 6,810 votes to 4,932 votes.

Bressi said being elected was a proud moment for him.

“It means a lot to me that the public came out and enjoyed the freedom of voting and making their choice,” he said. “Now that the choice is made by the public, it’s up to me to prove they made the right choice and for those who didn’t vote for me, it’s up to me to prove that I earn their respect to be a councilman.”

Tilis said he and Bressi ran clean campaigns.

“It was issue-oriented and we agreed on a lot of things,” said Tilis. “I believe he will do a good job in the best interests of all of the residents of Jackson.”

On Election Day, residents also voted to reduce Jackson’s open space tax assessment from 3 cents to 2 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. The binding question passed by a count of 7,175 “yes” votes to 6,609 “no” votes.

The amount of money a property owner in Jackson pays into the open space fund each year is determined by the assessed value of his property and the open space tax rate.

With a home assessed at $350,000 and an open space tax rate of 3 cents per $100 of assessed value in place, that property owner currently pays $105 annually into Jackson’s open space trust fund.

With a home assessed at $350,000 and an open space tax rate of 2 cents per $100 of assessed value in place, that same property owner will pay $70 annually into Jackson’s open space trust fund, for an annual savings of $35.

In the race for governor, Jackson residents overwhelmingly favored Republican candidate Chris Christie, who received 10,794 votes in Jackson. Incumbent Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine received 4,199 votes and independent Chris Daggett received 648 votes in Jackson. When all of the votes in the state had been counted, Christie unseated Corzine to win his first four-year term as governor.