Toms River Township Councilman Maurice “Mo” Hill has announced that he is running in the June Primary as a Republican candidate for Mayor of Toms River to succeed GOP incumbent Tom Kelaher who will not seek re-election in November.

“I have a strong record of honesty, integrity and proven leadership and dedicated service to my community and country," Hills said.

The Ward 3 Councilman and Councilman at Large has been in that position since 2004 when then Mayor Paul Brush (D) was sworn into office.

Hill joined fellow Republicans on the council that year in Greg McGuckin (who is now an Ocean County Assemblyman), Maria Maruca, Brian Kubiel, John Sevastakis (no longer on the council), Mike Fiure (no longer on the council) and Carmine Inteso (no longer on the council).

As he announces a run for mayor in 2019, Hill is also resigning from the Toms River Regular Republican Club.

“The Republican Party in Toms River has frozen my campaign funds forcing me to run a bare bones grass roots campaign. I offer myself as a candidate who has the honesty, integrity and the leadership skills to lead Toms River," Hill told WOBM News. "I feel we need an alternative to Mr. (George) Gilmore’s handpicked candidate, Mr. (Joseph) Coronato, who has an impending civil law suit for wrongful termination. We deserve better!”

Coronato, the former prosecutor in Ocean County, received the endorsement of the Toms River Republican Club earlier this month.

"I told the committee it was very important for us to be the strongest Republican town in Ocean County but the county be Republican. For me it's all about family and for us to hold Republican values," Coronato told WOBM News.

Meanwhile, Hill says wants to be the selection for Mayor.

"I am placing my names on the primary ballot as a republican candidate for Mayor of Toms River," Hill said. "I want to give the registered republicans of Toms River another choice for the position."

Hill said he's look to address a number of issues affecting residents in Toms River including over development.

“As a member of the Council’s Land Use Committee I have been an outspoken advocate for preserving open space," Hill said. "Over the last two-years the Council has preserved over 60 acres for open space in the northern section of Toms River and preserved the last horse farm in Town on Cox Cro Road."

Hill cites the Council revising the Master Plan in 2017 as what eliminated residential development on the Route 9 corridor from North Maple Avenue to Route 571.

The Council purchased the Red Carpet Inn downtown which is the initial step in the Downtown Redevelopment Area which Hill plans to help be apart of moving forward.

The Redevelopment Area on Caudina and Hooper Avenues is the potential site for the new VA medical clinic and the relocation of the US Post Office from downtown.

Hill also plans to challenge Coronato on a number of issues when they go head-to-head this year.

"Mr. Coronato has been one of the leading land use attorneys in Toms River. He was the attorney who received the initial planning board approval for the project now known as Riverwood Chase and Cox Cro Crossing," Hill said. "He also was the attorney of record when a 15 acre parcel off North Bay Ave was approved for a clustered development of 15 homes on half acre lots when the zoning called for acre lots."

Hill has a plan to serve the residents of Toms River where his family has resided and attends school in a district being crippled by state aid budget cuts.

“I have a vested interest in Toms River as I have 2 married daughters who live in Town and 4 grandchildren who attend Toms River Regional Schools," Hill said. "I have been a very vocal critic of the State’s draconian cuts to our state aid and advocated for the restoration of the state aid to our district. I attended the Save our Schools rally in Trenton supporting our teachers and students”.

In addition to being a councilman in Toms River, Hill also served 35-years in the United States Navy before retiring in 2005 as a Rear Admiral.

Maurice "Mo" Hill as a U.S. Navy Rear Admiral. (Maurice "Mo" Hill)[/caption]

Previous reporting by Dan Alexander was used in this report.

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