Republicans name local council ticket
Cappuccio for mayor; Fichetola, Penza & Rizzotte for council
HAMMONTON—Last week, the Hammonton Regular Republican Club announced its slate of candidates for mayor and town council.
Hammonton Regular Republican Club President Otto Hernandez said William “Bill” Cappuccio is running for mayor and Rocco “Rick” Fichetola, Tony Penza and Anthony Rizzotte are running for council.
“I feel good. I feel confident. I think we are putting a good ticket out there. It is a ticket that will distinguish itself,” Hernandez said.
Cappuccio spoke about his decision to run for mayor.
“In the past couple of years, I have been talking to people around town. There is a lot of things people love about this town and a lot of things that want to see improve about the town. I have also learned that people feel somewhat shut out and don’t know what is going on in town and only find out about projects after the fact. We need to have a local government that is open and receptive to all the people of Hammonton and not just the select few,” Cappuccio, 68, said.
He shared one of his favorite quotes.
“One of my favorite quotes from Robert F. Kennedy is ‘Every time we turn our heads the other way when we see the law flouted, when we tolerate what we know to be wrong, when we close our eyes and ears to the corrupt because we are too busy or too frightened, when we fail to speak up and speak out, we strike a blow against freedom and decency and justice.
“There are things happening in town that people aren’t happy with. We need to have a more open and transparent government. We have a great many people in this town that are great volunteers as is evidenced by the clock project where a group of volunteers were able to secure donations and restore one of our town’s landmarks and make it the jewel of the downtown. Over the years we have seen a resurgence of our service clubs — a testament to the volunteer spirit in this town. They all see needs in different areas and react and reach out to people to help improve the town,” Cappuccio said.
Cappuccio said he and his team want to bring more tax ratables to town.
“We need to get our business leaders together to work together to bring more ratables to town which will not burden our school system but will open the opportunities for employment and will generate more business for our small business restaurants, etc. that need it in our town,” Cappuccio said.
Cappuccio said Hammonton is a special place.
“Over the years we have seen a renaissance in our downtown area. We have to remember that Hammonton is not just our downtown. There are a lot of other parts of town that need the help and redevelopment,” Cappuccio said.
He added that the town’s infrastructure needs to be examined.
“We need to look at our infrastructure. We need to look underneath our streets and not just paving them and making them look pretty,” Cappuccio said.
He added that the town benefits from its employees and volunteers.
“We have a great group of municipal employees and volunteers who need to be allowed to do their job without political interference,” Cappuccio said.
Cappuccio said he would like to see the land-use board become more “user-friendly.”
“We need to become more user friendly with regards to our land-use board to make it less cumbersome for developers to come to the town with their projects,” Cappuccio said.
The mayoral candidate said he wants to hear from residents of the town.
“We need to embrace all members of our community and make sure all groups have their voices heard. We need to remember that many of our ancestors came here as immigrants and helped make Hammonton the wonderful town that it is. We need to continue that heritage and welcome the next wave of immigrants,” Cappuccio said.
Cappuccio said he is excited about the Republican council team.
“My team and I have one goal in common that is the betterment of the town. To do that you need to have open meetings; we want to invite all residents to our meetings. We know some issues need to be discussed in private but our goal is to be open and honest with all residents. The team that we have assembled has family roots that go back generations that have helped make Hammonton great and we look to continue that tradition to make Hammonton the best town in South Jersey,” Cappuccio said.
He said he wants to work for all the people of Hammonton.
“I want to be mayor for all the people. Not just the select few,” Cappuccio said.
The council candidates briefly spoke about running for office.
“I wanted to give the people a choice. If you give the people a choice, it forces the other group to be more transparent,” Fichetola, 64, said.
“I think there is a need for checks and balances rather than a one-party system to ensure transparency,” Rizzotte, 65, said.
“My family suggested it. For about four years I was on the planning board and was co-chair my first year. I was also on MUAC for about four years and was vice chairman for two years,” Tony Penza, 44, said.
Hammonton First has not announced its slate yet. Nick Polito from the Hammonton Democratic Club texted and said “no ticket for council” when asked if the Democrats were running a slate of candidates. Mayor Stephen DiDonato and Councilmen Thomas Gribbin and Jonathan Oliva, all of Hammonton First, are up for reelection. Republican Councilman Joseph Giralo’s term ends this year as well. However, Giralo is running for county clerk.