Hometown: Westwood, NJ
Occupation: Manager of Technical Services at Bergen County Utility Authority
Top 3 Issues: Bringing tax dollars home to L39 to support local schools; repair our neglected infrastructure; reduce local tax burden
Free-time activity: “I’m a former bike racer so I do like to get on my bicycle every now and again and go for a bike ride and enjoy some fresh air and exercise. When I can, I like to go to the gym and work out a little bit. Also, my wife and I are formerly in the restaurant business. So we both like to cook, and we both like to eat. So it’s always fun experimenting in the kitchen with some new recipes and some new ingredients. And, of course, New Jersey being the Garden State, we’re at no loss for fresh ingredients and interesting new food items to try.”
Social Media: Facebook
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Hello, I’m Westwood Mayor John Birkner Jr. and I’m running for State Assembly in District 39.
Often when I tell that to people, they say how discouraged they are by the state of politics today. It’s a sentiment I share.
That’s exactly why I first ran for mayor back in 2007. At that time, our town’s politics had become as unproductive as anything we see today in Washington or Trenton.
My message then, as now: bring people together and work toward making our town better for everyone – not just Democrats, not just Republicans: everyone.
From day one, I looked for ways to improve our community, by identifying and prioritizing long neglected infrastructure needs and stimulating small business growth.
I received millions of dollars in grant funding to modernize our rail crossings and improve pedestrian and vehicular safety, and reclaiming a municipal landfill to create 110 acres of active and passive recreation parkland
I worked to Protect our drinking water supply by remediating lead contamination, replacing leaky sewer lines, and reducing flood risks,
Because senior citizens deserve a voice in how their town is run, I created Westwood’s first Senior Citizen Advisory Board.
When Pascack Valley Hospital closed its doors. I committed to the job of building support to reopen that hospital.
Not many people believed it could get done.
I recognized how critical that hospital was to the entire region – not just for the medical care it provided, but also the jobs and local businesses it supported.
Cutting the ribbon on the new Hackensack University Medical Center at Pascack Valley was one of the proudest days in my public service..
We got there by earning overwhelming public support throughout the region, and working across the aisle to build a true bi-partisan coalition of state and local officials coming together to do something bigger and more important than any party label.
That’s exactly how my running mate Gerry Falotico and I are going to fight for our district in the Legislature.
We’re dealing with neglected roads and bridges, a broken transit system, underfunded local schools, and toxic chemicals threatening our drinking water.
We need to recover from the legacy of Chris Christie’s refusal to confront the serious issues of gun violence, women’s healthcare, and climate change, aided by politicians like Bob Auth and Holly Schepisi who put party loyalty and ideology ahead of serving our communities.
Families in North Jersey pay some of the highest taxes anywhere. But for all the money we send to Trenton, we aren’t getting nearly enough back into our district to meet our needs.
Well, if you want change in Trenton, you have to change the people you send to Trenton.
Gerry and I are running on our records of bringing results to the communities we serve.
I know that we can win this election by earning the support of Democrats, Independents, and Republicans.
Together we can help all the towns of the 39th district by: standing behind our teachers and first responders, caring for our seniors and veterans, supporting our small businesses, protecting our environment, and treating all people with dignity and respect – no matter their gender, their skin color, who they love, or how they pray.
In short, we can make our district the sort of place where all our kids will be proud to grow up.