Democrat John Arvanites officially announced that he is throwing his hat in the ring against 8 term Republican incumbent Rodney Frelinghuysen for New Jersey’s 11th Congressional District.
Arvanites is running unopposed in Tuesday's primary for the Democratic nomination.
Arvanites, 45, is a C.P.A. and former mayor of Roseland. In 2007 he won a victory in the race for Roseland mayor and during his tenure he said he worked to cut waste, freeze hiring, reduce overtime, and shrink government. He proposed a municipal budget without any tax increases.
“We need a government that understands how to budget and how to stay within that budget,” said Arvanites, “We need a government that invests in infrastructure and education. We need a government that creates middle class jobs; I know something about creating jobs.”
Arvanites admits an uphill battle in a district that has traditionally has been dominated by the Republicans. However, the two congressional candidates are running in a newly-drawn district that includes parts of Essex, Morris, Passaic and Sussex Counties.
Once reliably Republican, the district has become more Democratic after this year’s redistricting added Democratic towns while subtracting Republican towns from the district. The towns in Essex County which the 11th district represents are Bloomfield, Caldwell, Cedar Grove, Essex Fells, Fairfield, Livingston, Montclair, North Caldwell, Nutley, Roseland, Verona, West Caldwell, and West Orange.
Arvanites hopes that the changes within the district will help him unseat the Republican Incumbent. He said as mayor, he was both bipartisan and non-ideological. He built a coalition of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents committed to reform. Arvanites explains “I am running for Congress to provide a voice for the unrepresented majority: those of us whether Republicans, Democrats, Independents, Conservatives, or Liberals, who reject political games.”
Arvanites was born on October 1966 to a family of immigrants. His parents arrived in the Garden State from Greece with little money. Starting as a dishwasher, his father eventually saved up enough to open several of his own coffee shops.
As a teenager, Arvanites explained he washed dishes in the family business. “As a teen I did what my father did,” he said. “I washed dishes to save money for my future, with my family’s help I graduated from Farleigh Dickinson University in 1988 later becoming a C.P.A. in 1993.”
John Arvanites lives in Morristown with his wife, Luma, and their baby, Layna. Luma is a civil engineer with her own office in Cedar Knolls. John has two children from a previous marriage Anastasia, 15, and Demetri, 21.