By John Van Wagner, Montclair Republican Club

This past May 18, history was made at the Bloomfield Town Pub. You heard it here first.

There were no political luminaries there, no media coverage. Pub patrons on that Thursday night might not have even known it was happening. It was just a gathering of citizens with a common desire for change, like so many others of its kind.

But this one was different. For the first time ever, the Montclair and Clifton Republican clubs held a joint meeting, attended by a handful of representatives from each organization. Everyone there knew something significant was happening that night. Out of the tiniest of seismic events come tsunamis.

The combined event was organized in support of Nick Surgent, a dynamic young hopeful for the Republican nomination in District 34’s upcoming Assembly election. Nick is aiming to move to the general election in the fall against Tom Giblin, who’s held the seat since 2006. Giblin is a “heavyweight,” an operator in the most sophisticated sense, who’s advanced through the judicial and labor channels which have incubated Essex County machine politicians for the last five decades. But ask any random citizen on the streets of Montclair, Clifton, Orange and East Orange to place him, and watch the blank faces and shaking heads.

It’s this state of disengagement that has allowed the apparatus of state government to run roughshod over its citzenry, in the form of ever-increasing taxation, rich public sector union labor agreements, sweetheart construction contracts, and failing public schools. Under this consistently “progressive” regime New Jersey has “progressed” over the last half century from being a prosperous state with no income tax, a balanced budget, and a reputation for welcoming and incubating businesses large and small, to a flailing and failing place of chronic fiscal profligacy, declining employment, and an escalating tax burden.

Some of us may have read of the 11 downgrades the state has received from the major credit ratings agencies over the last decade. Most of know about the ruinous property tax regime under which we labor. But among citizens at large, no one seems to understand the political mechanics that underpin this state of debility. The state of our state rests with a legislature which is in thrall to the absolute power of the public sector unions, with all the corruption and backroom dealing that such an unholy alliance entails.

At our meeting none of us presumed to call for victory for our candidate. We know better. Right now the cynical and venal union-controlled Democratic party machine holds all of the political cards.

We’re striving for a different kind of victory, one in which, by joining forces, organizing at the district and county levels, and campaigning hard for a candidate who can pave for the way for a new consciousness, we can start the process of securing a freer New Jersey. Nick Surgent and candidates like him are the way forward.

Republicans, go to the polls on June 6, primary day. Vote for Nick.

John Van Wagner is the president of the Montclair Republican Club.