2009-05-21 / Front Page

Door-to-door campaign cited in election win

Skudera team sweeps Tinton Falls election
BY KENNY WALTER Staff Writer

Knocking on doors and mobilizing a cadre of volunteers were the keys to success in the recent Tinton Falls municipal election, according to members of the team that swept to victory on May 12.

Michael Skudera (l-r), Nancy Anne Fama and Scott Larkin Michael Skudera (l-r), Nancy Anne Fama and Scott Larkin "Nancy, Scott and I knocked on thousands of doors in Tinton Falls," said Michael Skudera, who won the race for mayor by a margin of about 160 votes, unseating incumbent Peter Maclearie.

"We believe the best way to find out about the issues is to go and ask the residents directly."

Skudera's running mates, Scott Larkin and Nancy Anne Fama, who won election to the Borough Council, agreed that door-todoor campaigning was crucial for their success.

"We ran the kind of campaign we wanted to," Larkin said. "We won the election by going door to door.

"It was a matter of us going out there everyday and meeting, listening and talking with the residents."

"Our strength was in our door-to-door meetings with the residents," Fama agreed. "It was not just an email campaign. I hope to continue to do that.

"I know we worked very hard," Fama said. "I was confident because when you work hard, you often get rewarded."

Skudera will begin his four-year term as mayor on July 1, and Fama and Larkin will assume the council seats vacated by Skudera and Paul Ford, who chose to not to seek reelection.

According to the Monmouth County website, Skudera received 1,668 votes for mayor to defeat Maclearie, who sought a second term as mayor and garnered 1,509 votes.

Fama took home 1,700 votes and Larkin had 1,713 votes.

Maclearie's teammates Michael Stanton had 1,428 votes and Bob Harvey had 1,380 votes.

Skudera is currently deputy council president and has been a member of the Borough Council since 2005. He is a project manager and has more than a decade of experience in the technology field.

Fama is vice president of human resources for Food Circus Super Markets. Larkin is currently a vice principal at Monmouth Regional High School.

Skudera also said that another strong point of the campaign was the team's ability to attract volunteer help.

"Nancy, Scott and I put a lot of hard work into the campaign and had many volunteers working with us," Skudera said. "We had confidence in our supporters and are humbled that the voters selected our team to represent them.

"Many volunteers helped with the campaign, it was a grassroots effort," he said. "Their dedication and hard work is what made the difference."

Fama also credits Skudera's relationship with residents as making it easier for her to campaign for office in Tinton Falls.

"One of the things was, I was riding Michael's coattails," Fama said. "He developed such strong relationships [over] the last four years that campaigning became easier."

Skudera acknowledged that he will be faced with some major issues when he takes office July 1.

"I would like to prioritize a list of all issues within the borough and make a plan of action to address each one," Skudera said.

One of the most pressing issues, according to Skudera, is the privatization of housing units at Naval Weapons Station Earle in Colts Neck. Since Navy dependents living at Earle attend Tinton Falls schools, the issue of whether all children living at Earle would be educated by the Tinton Falls District is a topic of debate, with the borough opposing privatization of the housing.

"Earle Housing is an issue that needs the full cooperation of the Board of Education and the borough," Skudera said. "The housing could open by early next year."

With a transition coming this summer, Skudera stressed the importance of a cohesive Borough Council working together.

"A smooth transition is key to making sure all current issues are being addressed and are resolved without delay," Skudera said.

In addition to Skudera and Ford, the current council members are Gary Baldwin, Duane Morrill and Andrew Mayer.

Both Larkin and Fama said they have already reached out to the council members.

"They were gracious in congratulating me," Fama said.

"Some of the best parts have been meeting with those guys," Larkin said.

It's a good time to thank Peter Maclearie for his 11 years of service to Tinton Falls," Larkin said. "I know we ran on opposite sides, but he's done a lot of good. As a newcomer it would be a mistake for me to not recognize that."

Skudera also said that Maclearie contacted him after the election and, according to Skudera, there are no plans for a recount.

Maclearie did not return calls for comment on the election outcome.

One of Skudera's main objectives in running for mayor was his focus on more transparency in the government.

"My main decision was for more open government," Skudera said before the election. "I also want to take an active approach and reach out with the school board and other towns about [sharing] services.

"We need to reach out and communicate better," Skudera added. "We need to be more responsive."

Skudera feels the team will benefit Tinton Falls over the next four years.

"I am proud to have run with Nancy and Scott," Skudera said. "They are hard workers and very dedicated. They will be a valuable asset to Tinton Falls."

The borough of Tinton Falls, since July 1, 1985, has operated under the mayor-council nonpartisan form of government pursuant to the Faulkner Act. Contact Kenny Walter at

kwalter@gmnews.com.

Return to top