By Kevin Coughlin
Vowing to accept no campaign donations, Maria Scumaci has entered the Morristown council race, rounding out the slate of mayoral candidate Michelle Duprée Harris, who is challenging Mayor Tim Dougherty’s ticket in the June Democratic primary.
“My goal is to be a voice to the voiceless, or a vote to those that can’t vote,” said Scumaci, who described herself as a state-certified campaign treasurer who will run on her own dime.
“I am fortunate enough to have the time and valuable resources to run on my own, and give the people back what they deserve,” said the candidate, a property manager and real estate investor, in a statement this week.
Her formal kickoff is set for Friday, Feb. 17, 2017, from 5 pm to 7 pm at the Office Tavern Grill at 3 South St.
She completes a ticket led by Harris, a five-term councilwoman; Esperanza Porras-Field, a founder of the Morris County Hispanic American Chamber of Commerce, and Jenna Gervasio, a lifelong Morristown resident from a prominent political family.
Harris has scheduled a formal kickoff for Saturday, Feb. 18, at 3 pm in the Morristown Diner.
They are challenging Dougherty, who seeks his third term as mayor; incumbent at-large Council Members Michael Elms and Toshiba Foster, and David Silva, pastor of the Centro Biblico church. Sen. Cory Booker endorsed Dougherty at his official launch last month.
Scumaci said she is living the American Dream thanks to her grandparents, who only had a few dollars when they brought the family to Morristown from Italy in 1966.
A graduate of St. Joseph’s University, she has taught English in Italy –she is a dual citizen–and worked as a regulatory analyst for a life sciences company. She also started a business importing olive oil from her family’s groves in southern Italy.
Scumaci bought and restored a 156-year-old house on Washington Street a few years ago, and said she recently acquired three other houses built by the Murphy family around 1891.
According to her biography, Scumaci “believes she has lived a life as a private citizen for long enough, and is eager to grow into a path of civil servitude.” By running for council, she said, she aims “to give back to Morristown what it has already given to, and created for, me.”