Perspective/Torrissi in Trenton
It’s officially the new year, and that means new elected officials are being sworn in throughout towns and counties in New Jersey.
During the course of the last couple of weeks, I visited a few municipalities in the current and future 8th Legislative District to swear in local leaders or attend their ceremonies, including in Shamong, Evesham, Mullica and Egg Harbor City.
These ceremonial events serve as a reminder of how many individuals step up to serve their local communities for very minimal pay while spending time away from their families in order to give back. These men and women rarely have ulterior motives and, for the most part, love where they live and grew up and want to make sure the rest of the residents are also proud to call the town home.
Your local representatives are also the people that can have the most impact on your day-to-day life, even though they get the least attention. They make sure your roads are paved, first responders are properly funded and try their best to attract businesses to the town.
While most of the viewing public tune into the car crash that can often be Washington D.C., our local council members, committee members, mayors and administrators make sure to limit the drama to minor fender benders. I get it, national news is more exciting. The topics are grand scale and easier to argue about over dinner with friends and family.
There’s no shame in not being 100-percent tuned in to local governing, it can often be boring and routine, but there still needs to be dedicated individuals who carry out that routine in order for the bills to get paid and the lights to stay on.
I was proud to meet the new people who are stepping up to the plate to serve their community. They will be responsible for shepherding in the future of their respective municipalities. Hopefully, they all bring a sense of volunteerism and selflessness that is required to serve your neighbors in this role.
We all have to remember, this isn’t Capitol Hill. No one is getting airtime from this job, and hopefully no one sees it as a birthright. This is community service. So while we all deserve to be a little disenchanted by the state of the nation’s politics, we should welcome the people who serve in our backyards.
Go to a town hall meeting. Email your mayor or council. Get to know them because I’m sure once you do, you’ll find out you share a lot of the same brotherly and sisterly values.
I thank all of the towns that invited me out for your ceremonies, and I wish each one of you, Republican, Democrat or Independent, the best of luck in serving your communities.
Michael Torrissi Jr.
Assemblyman, 8th District