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What Makes Victoria Run

Patch columnist Marsia Mason sits down for a conversation with Moorestown Republican candidate Victoria Napolitano.

The only positive thing that can be said about the is the fact that this has NOT been a partisan fight, against , but . In this insanely polarized world we now live in, how refreshing to know Mo’town is bucking that trend. To be sure, both sides of the argument are angry and absolutely positive they're right and the other side is wrong, but it is not a donkey/elephant thing.

Into this fray comes a sweet young lass by the name of Victoria Napolitano, a Republican candidate for town council who, at 24 years old, believes she has what it takes to make this town a better place. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry! I can’t even tell you what I was doing when I was 24 except that I was living in Chicago. I plead the Fifth on everything else.

, my curiosity was piqued. I was happy to see another woman might be joining Stacey Jordan, then surprised to find out Victoria was such a young’un. I decided I needed to have a sit-down with her and say things like, “Are you crazy? Have you seen what’s been going on with town council this year? Do you have a death wish? A library card?”  

Fortunately, I kept those questions to myself when I contacted Victoria and begged her to chat with me. “Please disregard everything you’ve heard about me,” I whined. “I or . I just want to talk.” And so, we met in the New Jersey Room of the last Wednesday evening for a lovely little Q&A session, during which she confided in me that, yes, she DOES have a library card. Hallelujah!  

All kidding aside, Victoria is a Jersey girl who has lived in Moorestown for all of three years. There are people who have lived here for 15 years, 30 years, yet they never felt called to serve on town council. How is it that this fresh-faced young woman, three years in, thinks she can make a difference in our town?

Victoria is quick to say that she is ready to rumble. The antics of town council this year have not scared her. On the contrary, she has been inspired by the disharmony to help set things right.

"I’m impressed with how people care for this town and care for the big issues," she said. "I want to make this town better."

She also believes the Republican slate, which has clearly stated they are against depleting the Open Space Fund for field improvements, is a team that is good at finding a consensus. “We believe in compromise,” she avowed, when I quizzed her about the testy turf issue. “I have never felt that it was necessary to use the Open Space funds for field improvements," she said. "It is a great project, to be sure, but I’m very disappointed in the negative way it was handled.”  

When asked about , Victoria demurred, saying she wanted to read the entire judgment before giving an opinion. Spoken like a true politician! Victoria does not see a Main Street soaked in booze, but she would like to see it become more like Collingswood or Haddonfield. “I would love to see the marketing of Moorestown done right. It's a beautiful downtown. ."  

Speaking of Main Street led Victoria right to her pet peeve about our town—Lenola. She and her husband have been living in Lenola the past three years and it really irks her that Lenola gets short shrift. Most of her door-to-door campaigning has been in Lenola.

"I've met generations of citizens that have always lived in that part of town. I hate to see people feel like they're lesser because of where they live in Moorestown," she said. "What's good for Main Street is good for Lenola."  

My mind immediately called up hundreds of council discussions over rejuvenating Lenola, how every few years it seems the town makes a halfhearted attempt at cleaning up, knocking down or beautifying what essentially is a gateway to Maple Shade. The problem is many of the properties are privately owned. Property owners can only be prevailed upon to do so much. Still, I find Victoria's position refreshing. She is not just a young renter, but a Lenoleum as well. When was the last time a politician represented that particular demographic?  

Close to the hour mark, I asked Victoria about the . She nodded her head thoughtfully, then began with : "I think Theresa Miller is doing an excellent job. The rec center is, after all, the heart of our town. I know staffing is difficult, but there are so many underserved kids in town who need a place to play." Having seen this population getting rowdy in the library, I was quick to agree with her. "You know, the big projects seem to be moving towards resolution, thank goodness. Town hall needs to be back in the center of town.."

And what about the library? When I asked for her opinion about the library, she smiled. "I have fond memories of using the library in Cranford when I was growing up," she recalled. "It is SO important for a town to have a library. I mean, everyone can benefit from a library—not just retirees and stay-at-home mothers. When I have children, I want them to have the same positive experiences that I had."

"I haven't been involved in the very long struggles facing Moorestown," she said in wrapping up our interview. "People are sick of arguing. I'm not concerned with that. I have my eye on the future."  

And, befitting a 24-year-old candidate, look for Victoria on Facebook and Twitter where, along with her running mates, she will be enthusiastically campaigning for your vote.

To read more about Victoria Napolitano and the Republican candidates, visit their website.

Sherine August 27, 2012 at 01:55 PM
Go Victoria!
Ballot Box August 27, 2012 at 02:12 PM
The Republicans will win this election because they have a positive, fresh, and ready attitude about governing. They'll be great additions to town council.
Tax Playa August 27, 2012 at 02:13 PM
"I think Theresa Miller is doing an excellent job!" - At What? The Senior Bus trip to AC and rec soccer (which she is trying to offload?) That is absolutely hilarious.
Melissa French August 27, 2012 at 02:29 PM
Many people in Lenola especially are grateful to Theresa Miller and her work for the rec center.
M. Schneider August 27, 2012 at 02:33 PM
I think Napolitano will be a great addition to town council, more then ever we need new ideas and creative thinking to get things back on track
Barbra August 27, 2012 at 02:34 PM
Is this an opinion piece?
Susan Thompson August 27, 2012 at 02:41 PM
Why Victoria would put herself through this is beyond me, local politics is such a thankless gig. Thats how you know she's in it for the right reasons, she legit wants yo make our town better, so lets hope she succeeds. Kudos to her.
blue horseshoe August 27, 2012 at 02:48 PM
I pay more taxes than you so I have more say than you.
Skeptical August 27, 2012 at 02:51 PM
Anyone else wondering why someone who doesn't pay property taxes (Victoria Napolitano is a renter - not an owner) is eligible to serve on Town Council? From what well of experience is Victoria going to draw upon to cast her votes? I don't know Victoria so cannot comment on her ability. That said, unless she is very exceptional, it is hard for me to imagine that a 24 year old who just moved to town is ready to make decisions on behalf of Moorestown.
Basic Math August 27, 2012 at 03:04 PM
Skeptical, renters live in properties. Those properties are owned by property owners. Those owners pay taxes. Renters pay rent, therefore, renters pay taxes. Are the many, many people of our town who rent not citizens??? I hope our town is better than that type of ignorance.
Fan of Lenola August 27, 2012 at 03:08 PM
Are saying 20% of the town's population, in other words renters, should not be represented on Council? Are you saying all those apartment complexes pay the town no property tax? If I owned a apartment complex, I think I would have to cover property taxes in what I would charge for rent. Skeptical is really Clueless.
Janice Brown August 27, 2012 at 03:12 PM
What well of experience does she draw on? How about high rent that is caused by high taxes? How about the fact that young families can't buy homes because of our taxes in this state? Rent properties are part of our towns ratables, and we vote too.
Anne August 27, 2012 at 03:17 PM
She knocked on my door - very sweet and so personable! She would be about asset to Council, very approachable. I think she has my vote
GOP Voter August 27, 2012 at 03:22 PM
Go Republicans!!!!
Skeptical August 27, 2012 at 03:23 PM
Basic & Fan - You are right. I hadn't thought of it that way. Embarrassing. Janice - I'm still trying to understand your point about her experience. Just because someone knows there is a problem ("high rent that is caused by high taxes") doesn't mean they know how to fix it.
Woman Vote August 27, 2012 at 03:32 PM
We need more women in public office, and its awesome to see one so young step up to serve! Love it!!!!
Elaine August 27, 2012 at 04:01 PM
Great piece. She sounds like a refreshing type of candidate
LOL .. August 27, 2012 at 05:07 PM
I guess hilarious marsia. I'm talking about most of these responses. Nice set up .
Blue Bird August 27, 2012 at 05:52 PM
She sounds like a typical person in town who's looking to do the right thing ... rare nowadays
Bud Fox August 27, 2012 at 06:12 PM
Hey Blue Horeshoe.....Do you still love Annocott Steel?......Greed is good my friend!
John K August 27, 2012 at 07:06 PM
I believe Jonathan Eron lives in the Lenola area of Moorestown...I know he served on town council for four years during the past decade.
Freddie McFracken August 27, 2012 at 07:39 PM
What happen democrat women for Romney ? We heard the women are turning toward voting republican this year? What do these candidates think?
George August 27, 2012 at 08:01 PM
I agree, Marsia, refreshing to see the Lenola demographic represented. Just sad that we have 9 candidates running and only 1 is from Lenola!
Freddie McFracken August 27, 2012 at 08:10 PM
But george, if she is renting, gets elected, and moves to another part of town, would you think differently? Or now that she moved out of the "lenola" area, she will no longer give a darn for that section of town? Huh? I guess that's up to you to see if she is and will be an asset to lenola?
Carla McIlmail August 27, 2012 at 09:29 PM
Two brave ladies....Marsia and Victoria!
Tim Zatzariny Jr. (Editor) August 28, 2012 at 01:51 AM
Skeptical, I don't know Ms. Napolitano, nor is this an endorsement, but your assertion that she "doesn't pay property taxes" is incorrect, and a common fallacy directed at renters. Property owners factor property taxes into the rent they charge, therefore Ms. Napolitano–and all other renters, for that matter–pay a form of property taxes.
Will August 28, 2012 at 02:14 AM
We saw all three candidates walking down our street the other day and missed meeting them. Thanks for the literature. Good to See the team of 3 together going through our neighborhood and care that lenola voters are important. Keep it going, happy campaigning!
C. Hanna August 28, 2012 at 02:25 AM
Leadership for a new generation, loving it!
Mtown alumni August 29, 2012 at 06:06 PM
I saw that guy from the republican club walking candidates around. Good luck guys! Like to see it !
Mtown alumni August 29, 2012 at 09:05 PM
Button out of race? yeah the republicans have my support!

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