Election season began very early this year with many of the candidates beginning in the early spring of 2010. It appears that the changes that many of the citizens have been asking for may actually happen. Will it be a good change? That is yet to be answered, but we can be assured that this year Passaic County will see new faces in old offices. With Jerry Speziale resigning from his position as Sheriff in Passaic County, to move to better pastures at the port authority, two new men have stepped up to the challenge of being the new sheriff in town.
The two men, both somewhat new to many of the citizens in the county, are Republican Felix Garcia from Wayne, NJ and Democratic Clifton Police Lieutenant Richard Berdnik. I believe that new blood should bring great change and have everyone seeing a better community. Many felt as if they were in a box under the last sheriff and although I am not saying anything bad about Speziale in any way, a lot of politicians have made comments that Speziale always made them feel uncomfortable.
With what appears to be a close hard race, both candidates are out and about getting into the public’s face. Felix Garcia appearing to be ahead and having had more time to market himself as the best choice has a strong hold on the community as a Hispanic that brings hope to many of his brothers and sisters. At this point the race is only close because of the Democratic ticket being so strong with Congressman Pascrell and Freeholder Duffy both up for re-election.
Congressman Pascrell has been a strong political figure for many years going back to when he was Mayor of Paterson, NJ and has always been someone that the community admires and roots for. But this time it may not be enough to help out his fellow running mate Richard Berdnik, with Garcia receiving the endorsement of many strong Hispanic political organizations it seems that the republican may be the next Sheriff!
This time it is about loyalty and pride as Hispanics will be coming out to the voting booths to vote for what they feel is the best man for the job and also someone that represents them more closely. Berdnik an officer in Clifton for many years has a run for his money during this election, and the Democrats may lose a few positions because of the demographic that will be voting this time around. What typically has been the smallest demographic to voter pool will be a shocking surprise for everyone when it’s all said and done. Hispanics are going to come out to prove a point in this election and I am sure for many more elections to come.
Sheriff Speziale leaving left a huge opening for someone to just walk in and take, and in my opinion Garcia seems to be the man that will fill the void. Just going by how so many are taking to him and how easily he has been accepted in the community I can tell that the change is coming. Hopefully the community will get what they deserve with the new sheriff and whoever else is elected. It has been a tough year and economy for everyone and I am sure that the simplest change will make a huge impact.