NEWTON, NJ - Former New Jersey State Assemblyman (R-24) Gary Chiusano, was sworn in on Monday at the Sussex County Courthouse as Sussex County's Surrogate.
As reported in The Alternative Press last week
, Chiusano was nominated to the position by Governor Chris Christie, and then later, was confirmed unanimously by the State Senate Judiciary Committee, and New Jersey State Senate, agreeing with the Governor's appointment, 35-0.
The swearing in for Chiusano was originally tentatively scheduled for last Friday, but was firmed up for yesterday, due to the winter storm.
Chiusano, who holds a degree in Business Administration/Finance from Drexel University, and had his vocation as a financial planner, as well as in politics, is thought a natural for the position of Surrogate, by those who know him.
"I've known Gary for many years," Harold "Hal" Wirths, New Jersey's Commissioner of the State's Department of Labor and Workforce Development, told The Alternative Press. "I've worked with him in Trenton and in the Legislature."
Wirths received his own nomination from the Governor to his position in Jan. 2010, and was sworn in as commissioner in May of that year. Wirths served on the Sussex County Board of Chosen Freeholders beginning in 2000, until 2010, when he was appointed as commissioner. Chiusano served as a freeholder with Wirths from 2003 through 2008.
"With his finance background, Gary will make a great surrogate," Wirths added.
Chiusano was a member of the New Jersey State Assembly starting in 2008. He served as Assistant Republican Whip from 2010 through 2011, and started as Deputy Republican Leader, beginning in 2012. He served on the Budget, and Financial Institutions and Insurance Committees.
He also served as Frankford Township's Mayor, from 2001 to 2003.
"He is carrying on a hardworking Sussex County tradition," agreed Michael J. Hanifan, of The Law Office of Michael J. Hanifan, PA., of Chiusano's background.
"I'm so happy to be honored with this opportunity," said Chiusano, after being sworn in by Judge Edward V. Gannon, with his wife Carol holding the Bible. "It was several months ago when Governor Christie said he loves the job of being Governor, because he has the opportunity to do something great every day. He doesn't do something great every day, but every day he has the opportunity to do something great."
"I thought about this opportunity," Chiusano continued. "I thought, 'every day I'm going to have the opportunity to help some people.' And for 22 years, Nancy Fitzgibbons has done an excellent job, and the folks in her office, many of you are here today, have done an outstanding job for the citizens of the County of Sussex."
"It's my principle that we can always do better, but my objective will be to give you the fine service for the residents for the County of Sussex," Chiusano said. "When people come to us, it's during some of the most difficult times of their lives. Sometimes it's happy, sometimes it's sad. Probates, wills, the handling of adoptions, or guardianships. They need someone, not someone, they need a team of people, with the empathy, and the knowledge, and the experience, to help them through the difficult time, and that's what we're going to continue to do, and I'm looking forward to it."
Although Chiusano has been sworn in to his position, he will still need to run for office to continue in the position after 2013. He will go through the June primaries, and then must win the vote for surrogate at the polls in November.