April 9, 2017

Gottheimer meets with mayors to discuss issues

FRANKLIN — Though it was Saturday, the Franklin Borough Municipal Building was busy as U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-5th Dist., met with mayors and representatives from about a dozen Sussex County towns to learn about the issues the county is facing.

“Part of my role is to make sure I’m the champion for every town and every mayor,” Gottheimer said after the hour-long meeting. “My most important job is to make sure we are listening to people, being responsive and talking about how we can do everything possible to help them.”

Topics discussed during the meeting included bringing grant money to Sussex County, the Lackawanna Cutoff, the opioid abuse epidemic and bringing tax dollars back to Sussex County, among others.

“These are beautiful communities, but we have too many people leaving, too many businesses leaving, and housing prices aren’t where they should be,” Gottheimer said regarding topics of conversation. “What can we do together so we have a strategy here to make sure we can show everybody why they should be here (in Sussex County)?”

Gottheimer said topics also included how to bring in other companies like Thorlabs that specialize in photonics and make Sussex County a hub for that industry.

“I think it was a very constructive hour,” said Sussex Borough Mayor Kathy Little, who added that she appreciated being able to get together with mayors from other municipalities.

“I think its great the congressman wants to be involved with the community,” Franklin Mayor Nicholas Giordano said. “It’s important as an elected official to be involved with the congressman so we can do things to improve our community.”

In addition to Sussex Borough and Franklin, Lafayette, Andover, Newton, Hardyston, Sandyston and Montague were also represented.

Though many topics were discussed, Giordano said no issues were resolved or solutions found since it was the first meeting formal sit-down meeting the mayors had with Gottheimer.
The goal is to have similar meetings once per quarter, Gottheimer said.

“This is the best way for me to make sure I can serve my constituents,” he said. “I need to figure out what I can do for them.”