Senator Jennifer Beck announced that she has selected Ocean Township Deputy Mayor Rob Acerra and Red Bank Councilman Michael Whelan as the Assembly candidates who will seek to unseat rookie Democrat Assembly members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey in the 11th legislative district this November.
Before a crowd of over 600 Republicans at the annual Monmouth GOP Lincoln Day dinner in Freehold Township on Friday night, Beck thanked the many potential candidates who she interviewed for the GOP nominations for Assembly in the 11th legislative district and announce that she, Acerra and Whelan would start their door to door campaign the following morning.
Acerra, 52, was elected to the Ocean Township Council in a non-partisan in 2015 with the support of Mayor Christopher Siciliano. Prior to his election to the Council, Acerra served two terms of the Township’s Board of Education. He is married to Rose Acerra and they have three adult sons. A graduate of Montclair State University, the Deputy Mayor earns his living as a national accounts manager for Carousel Industries, a large privately held technology integrator.
Acerra told MMM that his biggest accomplishment as a member of the Ocean Township Council is holding the line on property taxes while maintaining or improving municipal services. He said he and his colleagues on the governing body are working toward reducing property taxes by up to 10% in the upcoming budget.
Whelan, 25, single, is a 2014 graduate of Manhattan College and a 2010 graduate of Christian Brothers Academy. He is an Account Executive in the property and casualty insurance industry where he services commercial accounts and small businesses. He defeated long time incumbent Michael Dupont for a seat on the Red Bank Council in 2015.
The councilman said that in his 14 months on the Red Bank governing body, he has led the effort to tackle tough issues that had been lingering for many years without progress. He cited two parking plans the borough has implemented, a new redevelopment plan and an additional K-9 Officer for the Police Department.
Beck, Acerra and Whelan will be unopposed for the Monmouth GOP endorsements in the 11th district and the GOP nominating convention on March 18th at iPlayAmerica in Freehold Township.