Barnegat resident and former Township Committee member Dorothy Ryan is the Democratic pick to challenge State Sen. Christopher Connors for his seat in November.
Ryan, who will be 78 next week, gathered 167 signatures in her petition to enter the race, and will run uncontested in the District 9 Democratic primary June 7.
She had not been planning a campaign until the possibility of her running came up at a recent nominating committee meeting, she said, but after considering the idea and consulting her family, she decided to throw her hat in the ring.
Running her husband’s Assembly campaign in 2001 showed her the ins and outs of a legislative run, she said, “so I go into it with eyes wide open.”
Too-high property taxes and the state of education in New Jersey top Ryan’s list of issues.
“In my mind, they are very much combined, since 60 percent of our property taxes go to support public education,” she said.
Oversight of the decommissioning of the Oyster Creek nuclear generating station is also a priority, she said, particularly since the disaster at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi plant has called attention to similarities between that structure and Oyster Creek.
As plans move forward for the shuttering of the Lacey plant in 10 years, “there are many things to be considered,” Ryan said. The fact that spent fuel rods could be stored on the site for decades after the plant closes is a major issue for her, she said.
“I get concerned about the people and their jobs and the loss of tax revenue for Lacey. And you need to have an alternative source of energy.”
Ryan will run a joint campaign with Democratic State Assembly candidates Carla Kearney of South Toms River and Bradley Billhimer of Berkeley, she said.
Ryan served on the Barnegat Township Committee from 2007 to 2010, when she was defeated by Republican Al Bille. A Barengat resident for 14 years, Ryan lives in the Heritage Point development.