Captions: (Top) Matawan Mayor Mary Aufseeser and Monmouth County Democratic Chairman Victor Scudiery. (Second from Top) Middletown Democratic Chairman Joseph Caliendo and Middletown Democrat Michael Morris. (Third Down) Hazlet Township Mayor Jimmy DiNardo and Middletown Democrat Chuck Fallon. (Bottom) Middletown Committeeman Patrick Short and his wife, Lucy.
ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS (Monmouth County, New Jersey) -- Monmouth County Democrats gathered for the annual Democratic Christmas Party, hosted by Monmouth County Democratic Chairman Victor Scudiery, on Sun., Dec. 9.
In all, about 400 Democrats around the county traveled to the Shore Casino, in the Atlantic Highlands Harbor, to take part in the event.
The list of Democratic dignitaries was long and included, among others: Freeholder Barbara McMorrow, Matawan Mayor Mary Aufseeser, Atlantic Highlands Mayor Peter Donoghue, Hazlet Mayor James "Jimmy" Diardo, Middletown Township Committeemen Patrick Short, Middletown Towship Committeeman-Elect Sean Byrnes, Hazlet Committeeman Joseph Belasco, Matawan Committeeman Joseph "Bud" Mullaney and Atlantic Highlands Councilman Roy Dellosso.
"It is wonderful to get an opportunity to get together with so many hard-working and dedicated Democrats for the holidays," Scudiery said. He credited party leaders for their efforts not only during election time, but throughout the year.
Middletown Democratic Chairman Joseph Caliendo said this year was very important for Democrats specifically, but generally for Monmouth County residents. "I think the Democratic Party provides Monmouth County residents an opportunity other than just going the same course all the time. Chairman Scudiery deserves so much credit for his tireless efforts on behalf of not only one political party, but really this county's residents," Caliendo said.
Hazlet Township Board of Education President Glenn Mason said politics is a part of community life, but not the point of public service. "Whether it concerns Republicans or Democrats, I think the most important thing that any elected official can bring to the table is an earnest desire to serve the residents of their area," he said.
Long Branch Democrat Lorenzo W. Dangler explained that the point of democracy is to give residents a voice. "I think it is pretty clear that Monmouth residents today have more options, and more options they are using, than ever before," Dangler noted.
Belasco said that Scudiery has served as an example for him as a public office holder. "Victor Scudiery has run the Democratic Party in an honorable way that has, in my opinion, been welcoming of initiative and comment from within it and even outside of it," Belasco said. "People are looking for transparency in government, and that is exactly the kind of government that Mr. Scudiery advocates, instead of government that is either closed or conducted outside of public view."
Middletown Democrat Michael Morris said he has worked on "too many campaigns to count in Middletown." The Township Committee, once considered unapproachable by Democratic candidates, has seen the election of two Democrats in successive years: Short during last year's election, and Byrnes during this year's. "It gives Democrats a shot in the arm to see good candidates from the party finally getting elected in the township," he said.
Mullaney said that it is particularly appropriate that Democrats get together during the holidays after a long, tiresome election season. "I think it is great that Chairman Scudiery throws this event. It is really great and it was very well attended this year," he said.
Scudiery especially thanked members of the Monmouth County Democratic Organization, who helped to coordinate the successful holiday event.