Former Mayor Brian Levine Contemplates Bid For Governor

Brian Levine.

Saying New Jersey needs a leader with new ideas, former township Mayor Brian Levine announced on January 1 that he is forming an exploratory committee to study a run for the Republican nomination for Governor.

Levine, who has just completed a term as what used to be called a Somerset County Freeholder, served as a Township Councilman from 1998 to 2003, as Franklin’s first directly elected Mayor from 2004-2014, and as a Freeholder from 2015-2020.

Levine, a Republican, last ran for a state-wide seat in 2013, when he unsuccessfully challenged Democratic state Sen. Bob Smith (D-17.)

Gov. Phil Murphy’s first term ends this year. His major Republican challengers are currently former state GOP chairman Doug Steinhardt and former state Assemblyman Jack M. Ciattarelli.

“It is a preliminary analysis for now,” Levine said in a press release, “but New Jersey needs so much rebuilding, that a patchwork quilt of concepts will not solve the problems; we need bold steps with our residents in mind.”

Levine, a CPA by profession, said in the release that he would be a “governor for the people” who would solve the state’s fiscal problems.

“In the best of times, these last few years, New Jersey is broke,” Levine said in the release. “Now New Jersey is destitute with no survival plans. We need a Governor who has new ideas and can resolve our fiscal crisis.”

“When I left office as Mayor, (the township) had one of the highest surpluses in the state, while growing our police force and increasing services to citizens.  During my tenure as Freeholder, we maintained our AAA rating.”

Claiming expertise in accounting and finance, Levine said the state needs “common sense in Trenton from an outsider, not the same old swamp-reboot.”

Levine listed several issues on which he would focus, including “financial incentives for businesses that are being used as unpaid tax collectors; our most vulnerable citizens who could not afford health insurance received a tax increase; Rutgers has one of the highest in-state tuitions in the country and a more complicated admissions process than most universities; pandemic relief is spotty.”

“Pandemic ancillary victims have not been addressed,” Levine said in the releae. “Closed small businesses are in dire straits, domestic violence is up, mental health services are required.  As for state agencies, the workers are great, but (NJ Motor Vehicle Commission) leaves people frustrated.  There is so much more to be done.”

“People are hurting,” Levine said in the release. “Leadership is needed.”

Levine said that if he does enter the race for the Republican nomination, he would expect “civil discourse” from his opponents.

“I want ideas to flow amongst all, I want solutions to be discussed, I want New Jersey to be the stellar place it can be,” Levine said in the release. “Some run for office because they want to hold the office; I will run to create a better life for our residents.”

“Just like I was ‘The People’s Mayor,’ I seek to be ‘The People’s Governor’ if I run and succeed,” he said in the release.

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