WWII Vet, 93, Wins Mayoral Bid in First-Ever Campaign for Elected Office
A 93-year-old World War II veteran is embarking on a new career after being elected to office for the first time in a bid for mayor of a New Jersey borough.
Vito Perillo will preside over Tinton Falls after unseating incumbent Mayor Gerald M. Turning, winning 53 percent of the vote in the nonpartisan municipal race.
Perillo, who served with the U.S. Navy in the South Pacific from 1944 to 1947, ran on a platform that called for lower taxes and more transparency.
The nonagenarian says he wore out two pairs of shoes while going door-to-door to campaign for office, he told the Asbury Park Press.
“He is fit and witty and he just has decades left on him,” said his granddaughter, Melissa Balsamello.
Perillo decided to run after a pair of whistleblower lawsuits involving the police department cost the borough about $1.1 million in settlements, he told the paper.
“As mayor, I will ensure your voice is heard when it comes to making important financial decisions and create a culture of accountability,” he said in a video posted on his Facebook page in October.
After winning the election, Perillo said his first order of business was to set a reasonable budget for the next year.
“I’m glad [the campaign] is over and I’m anxious to get to work,” he told CNN.