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Assembly Race: District 10

Democrats hope to break up the ‘one-party rule’ in Ocean County.

The Assembly race in the 10th District in Ocean County features veteran incumbent David Wolfe, and three other candidates seeking their first seat in the lower house.

The Democratic candidates, Bette Wary and Eli L. Eytan, both stress the importance of new beginnings and the negative effects of what Eytan called “one-party rule” in the heavily Republican district.

Eytan lost in the 2009 Assembly elections to Wolfe, a 20-year incumbent, and James Holzapfel, who has represented the 10th in the Assembly since 1994 but is now running for Senate. Wolfe is campaigning this year with Gregory P. McGuckin, the council president in Toms River.

A lawyer, Eytan is the past president of the Ocean County Bar Association and president of Ocean-Monmouth Legal Services. To him, taxes and jobs are the main concern, and he believes that the incumbents are part of the problem.

“They haven’t really initiated the kind of legislation that’s directly impacted the district,” he said. “The incumbents are part and parcel of one-party rule, and Ocean County is definitely becoming the capital of local pay-to-play laws.”

Democratic candidate Wary has lived in Brick for 42 years and is a retired Toms River language arts teacher. She now lives in Greenbriar II, an active adult community, and has won the endorsements of the NJ Education Association and the Women’s Political Caucus.

For Wary, the big issues are property taxes, saving Barnegat Bay, and plugging loopholes in the pension system. “I’m developing a plan for tax relief for our seniors and a tuition assistance plan for college students to remain in the state,” she said.

Wary charged that the incumbent has done little for the 10th.

“It’s time for new faces, new voices, new beginnings, and common sense for our district,” she said. “There hasn’t been a woman assemblyman in this district for 20 years. People should vote to have someone new in Trenton representing them.”

Republican McGuckin would be new to Trenton if elected. An attorney, he has served eight years as the council president in Toms River.

“One thing we need to talk about is that the school funding formula is completely biased against suburban and southern New Jersey communities,” he said. “There needs to be a fairer way to allocate money to school districts.”

McGuckin said that, at this time, it is important to stand in support of Gov. Chris Christie.

“I think that one thing Trenton doesn’t need is sending more Democrats to Trenton,” he said. “I can bring a new voice to Trenton to address the concerns of our constituents. I’ve done a good job at the local level, and I’d like to see what I can do in Trenton.”

Wolfe said this election should be a “referendum on our performance as Republicans for the last two years.”

He served on the Brick Township Council for 15 years before being elected in 1992 to the Assembly, where he now serves as Deputy Republican leader. He is a professor at Ocean County College.

For Wolfe, the big issues run the gamut from unemployment and mortgages to education and seniors.

“We have a lot of senior communities in the district and we need to pay attention to their concerns,” Wolfe said.

“I’m a Republican, but I tend to be independent at times,” he continued. To be effective, you have to work with both sides. You have to be able to listen and compromise. I think the fact that we’ve been re-elected is indicative of the support we’ve had.”

Matthew Kassel is a freelance writer focusing mainly on politics and culture. He is an editorial assistant at Community News Service, a local newspaper group in Mercer County.

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