Garden State Equality Endorses Melonie Marano for Somerset County Freeholder

Reference Marano’s “Record of Working with and Supporting Issues of Importance to the LGBTQ Community”

Garden State Equality (GSE) has endorsed former Green Brook Mayor Melonie Marano for Somerset County Freeholder. GSE is New Jersey’s advocacy and education organization for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community with 150,000 members statewide.

“I am honored to accept the endorsement of Garden State Equality, and firmly believe that standing up for equality is always right,” said Marano, the Democratic standard bearer for Somerset County Freeholder. “In 2007 I performed the first same-sex civil union in Green Brook History after two previous mayors refused to do so, and was proud to stand against anti-LBGTQ activist Felecia Nace’s appointment to the Raritan Valley Community College Board of Directors.”

GSE notes that Marano is a 2019 candidate who “has a demonstrated record of working with and supporting issues of importance to the LGBTQ community.”

In 2009. as Green Brook Mayor, Marano reinstated the practice of the Mayor performing weddings, including the Township’s first same-sex civil union. Pat Walsh had suspended the practice two years earlier when same-sex civil unions became the law in NJ. In order to avoid marrying gay couples, Walsh simply refused to marry anyone.

Recently, Marano has been a leading voice calling for the resignation of Raritan Valley Community College Trustee Felecia Nace following her speaking role in a “Straight Pride” rally and  calling for eliminating all LBGTQ+ curricula in public schools.

Dr. Nace’s nomination was made in July 2017 on a motion by Freeholder Pat Walsh, currently the Republican nominee for freeholder.  The vote by the then all-Republican Freeholders was unanimous, with Brian Gallagher not in attendance. 

“This is a pattern for Pat. In 2009, I was proud to be the first Mayor in Green Brook to perform a same-sex civil union ceremony,” said Walsh. “But what saddened me was that Pat, as Mayor in 2006 when the unions became legal, refused to perform any weddings in order to avoid performing a ceremony for a loving same-sex couple.” 

“Melonie has been extraordinary in supporting diversity as she provides a forum for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning community members,” said Lambertville Council President Elizabeth Asaro. “Please cast your vote for diversity, acceptance and a voice of reason – vote for Melonie Marano.”

What Does a Somerset County Freeholder Do?

The Somerset County Board of Chosen Freeholders serves as the governing body for our County. This Board is responsible for all of the administrative and financial decisions within the County and oversee a series of services ranging from higher education to curbside recycling to road maintenance. Here are a few other things that our Board of Chosen Freeholders is responsible for:

  • Financial Decisions
  • Human Resources
  • Records Management
  • Mental Health Center
  • Board of Social Services
  • Office on Aging and Disability Services
  • Veterans Services Office
  • County Health Department
  • Planning Board
  • Criminal Justice
  • Engineering
  • Road & Bridges

What Does the Somerset County Sheriff Do?

The Somerset County Sheriff’s office has a variety of responsibilities and authority ranging from maintaining a safe and secure environment at the county Courthouse to creating new task forces and divisions as needed. Here are a few other things that fall under the Sheriff’s office:

  • providing a resource officer to all Somerset County Schools
  • establishing new divisions and task forces as needed
  • assisting with prisoner transport
  • securing the Somerset County Jail
  • providing backup to municipalities as needed
  • conducting investigations

Somerset County Democratic Committee Black Caucus Endorses Russo and Marano for Somerset County

Darrin and Melonie would be a welcomed addition to county government. 

Darrin’s experience as a retired police lieutenant in a diverse community and a sense of community allows him to bring a positive change to an office that few in our community have known or seen as accessible or responsive. 

Melonie’s professional experience and background in finance will provide for better oversight in county government. Her green initiatives align with the counties plan however there is no one currently on the board with this unique experience and insight. 

Darrin and Melonie are the right choice, the right time, and the right team for Somerset County.

Marano Endorsed by the Somerset County Federation of Democratic Women

The Somerset County Federation of Democratic Women is endorsing Democratic candidate Melonie Marano for Freeholder in the upcoming November elections.

The SCFDW supports women in Somerset County who are running for municipal, county, and state offices. We support the ideals of the Democratic Party and encourage women to be involved in the governing process.

We happily join multiple New Jersey and Somerset County institutions that are supporting Melonie, including the Somerset County Education Association and the Sierra Club New Jersey.

Melonie has served as past president of our organization. During her tenure, she developed county-wide relationships between women in political offices. She also served as Mayor of Green Brook, honing her leadership skills and commitment to the people she serves, and demonstrated the willingness to roll up her sleeves and find sustainable, mutual partnerships throughout the County.

This is why the Federation supports Melonie 100%.

To learn more about Melonie Marano’s campaign and her stance on the issues, visit

The Somerset County Federation of Democratic Women

NJ State Troopers Endorse Russo for Somerset County Sheriff

 Troopers “Unequivocally Endorse” Russo for His “Experience and Leadership”

The State Troopers’ Fraternal Association of New Jersey, which represents more than 1,600 rank and file troopers, announced its endorsement of Darrin Russo for Somerset County Sheriff this year. 

“It is a deep honor to be endorsed by the NJ State Troopers, who are some of the most respected law enforcement officers in the nation,” said Russo. “As the Somerset County Sheriff I will leverage my relationship with the troopers and other agencies to bring new, effective policing techniques that will deliver real safety and security for the people of Somerset County.

Russo is a 30 year veteran of the Franklin police department who specialized in community policing and building relationships with the community. From 2004 to 2016 when Russo retired as a Lieutenant, violent crime fell 44 percent in Franklin due to innovative partnerships between police and businesses, schools, neighborhoods and houses of worship. 

“The State Troopers Fraternal Association … unequivocally endorses you for the office of Somerset County Sheriff,” said Wayne Blanchard, President, State Troopers Fraternal Association. “The men and women of the State Troopers Fraternal Association look forward to standing shoulder to shoulder with you as the next Somerset County Sheriff in facing all the challenges that we as law enforcement officers deal with on a day to day basis.”

Firefighters Join Police in Endorsing Russo for Sheriff

Call Russo a “Kindred Spirit” In Support of Protecting the Public

North Plainfield, NJ – The New Jersey Firefighters’ Mutual Benevolent Association has endorsed Darrin Russo, a 30-year veteran of the Franklin police department, for Somerset County Sheriff this year. 

“I am deeply honored by the support of my campaign for Somerset County Sheriff by my brothers and sisters in the NJ FMBA,” said Russo. “Time and time again I have seen them risk their lives to protect lives and property giving no thought to their own safety, and I am going to bring that same level of selfless commitment to the Sheriff’s office.”

“The New Jersey Firefighters Mutual Benevolent Association (NJ FMBA) is proud to endorse Lt. Darrin Russo for Somerset County Sheriff in the 2019 election,” said the FMBA in a statement. “Throughout his career Darrin has demonstrated a commitment to protecting his community as a police officer, as a volunteer, and as a father. As firefighters we recognize a kindred spirit dedicated to protecting people and property, and fully support Darrin’s campaign for Sheriff.”

The endorsement follows the endorsement of the Middlesex and Somerset County Police Benevolent Association (PBA) last week.

“We can do better than the head down, do nothing, stay in the office strategy of Provenzano and his Republican bosses,” said Russo. “As Sheriff, I will work with our sheriff’s officers, local police, schools and houses of worship to be a visible, active member of the community making a difference in the lives of Somerset County residents.”

Somerset County Freeholders Robinson and Sooy celebrate restoration of off-peak direct access to New York City but demand additional service

Freeholder Candidate Melonie Marano calls on New Jersey Transit to create peak one seat ride for commuters to Manhattan on the Raritan Valley Line

Somerset County Freeholders Shanel Robinson and Sara Sooy and  Freeholder Candidate Melonie Marano join Governor Murphy and other elected officials in the announcement of the restoration of direct off-peak service to Manhattan on the Raritan Valley train line. Service was previously discontinued due to a lack of tunnel space, needed repairs and insufficient engineers. “For far too long residents of Somerset County have been treated as Second class passengers by New Jersey Transit” stated Freeholder Candidate Melonie Marano. “I am glad today to stand with our Governor in returning off peak service to Somerset County commuters” added Freeholder Robinson. “But it still does not accomplish what is really needed for our Residents. Simply put I will continue to fight for increased peak services that are needed when the majority of our residents ride the trains.” stated Robinson.

“It’s time to demand equal treatment from New Jersey Transit. While other communities have direct service to NYC during peak commuting hours, Somerset residents have been left behind on the platform,” said Freeholder Sooy. The Raritan Valley Line serves more than 23,000 daily commuters in a corridor where 1 million people live. It’s also the only NJ Transit rail line without direct access to New York City in the morning and evening rush hours. The North Jersey Coast Line, with the about the same number of commuters, has 11 trains in the morning and 13 trains in the afternoon with direct access to Manhattan.

“The past failure of Governor Christie to support the ARC tunnel to Manhattan and President’s Trump’s failure to commit funding to the project has far reaching consequences for the health and viability of our communities in Somerset County and the entire state” stated Candidate Marano. Direct access to Manhattan has proven to be an economic boon to communities on the Morris and Essex transit lines. Accessibility is a major contributing factor to property values and quality of life in New Jersey. Both Freeholders and Marano lauded the improvements made by Governor Murphy in regard to fixing NJ Transit. Freeholder Robinson noted, “the hiring and training of additional engineers has added to the ability of NJ Transit being able to service their customers.”