MONMOUTH COUNTY - On Monday, Democrats Christopher Cullen, Kevin M. Lavan and Patrick Short announced their intention to seek seats in the newly configured Thirteenth Legislative District.  The three former elected officials will focus on protecting the environment, creating jobs, and reforming state government.

Mr. Cullen, who served previously as Mayor of Hazlet Township, will run as a write-in candidate in the June 7 Democratic primary for the chance to challenge State Senator Joseph Kyrillos (R-Middletown).  He cited the Christie Administration's inaction on key environmental issues -- and the voters need for a choice -- as his reason for challenging the longtime lawmaker.

"The people of the Thirteenth Legislative District deserve a conversation about the future of our communities," said Mr. Cullen.  "I hope my fellow Democrats will consider writing me in so I can have that conversation with Senator Kyrillos."

Mayor Cullen is a committed environmentalist.  He said, "As Mayor, I worked with Democrats and Republicans alike to preserve thousands of acres of open space.  As Senator, I'll go to Trenton to make sure that what remains of our woodlands and beaches don't give way to shopping centers and traffic jams."

Mr. Lavan and Mr. Short are seeking the two State Assembly seats currently held by Amy Handlin (R-Middletown) and Declan O'Scanlon (R-Little Silver).  They believe the Thirteenth District deserves representatives who will fight for middle class families.

"It's time someone stood up for middle class families," said Mr. Lavan, also a former Mayor of Hazlet Township.  "There are too many people out of work.  Too many homes are in foreclosure.  We need action to spur the economy and put people back to work."

Mr. Short, who during his tenure on the Middletown Township Committee fought for responsible budgeting and greater transparency, believes Mayor Lavan and he have the unique experience and skills to reform the way Trenton does business.

"Kevin and I were elected as a result of Operation Bid Rig," said Mr. Short.  "Our involvement in public service was borne out of a desire to clean up our towns and restore the people's faith in local government.  Ethics reform and greater transparency in state government will be among our top priorities when we head to the Assembly."

Mayor Cullen served on the Hazlet Township Committee from 2001-2004.  During that time, he preserved record amounts of open space.  He currently works as facilities maintenance manager for the Marine Academy of Science and Technology at Sandy Hook. 

Mayor Lavan was elected to fill the seat of disgraced Republican Mayor Paul Coughlin in 2005.  A Hiring Agent for New York Shipping, during his time in office he delivered the lowest municipal tax increases in a decade. 

Committeeman Short graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and retired from the U.S. Army as a Lieutenant Colonel.  On the Middletown Township Committee he opposed runaway borrowing and offered a series of reforms that resulted in increased transparency and greater responsibility to taxpayers.

The new Thirteenth Legislative District comprises Aberdeen, Atlantic Highlands, Fair Haven, Hazlet, Highlands, Holmdel, Keansburg, Keyport, Little Silver, Marlboro, Middletown, Monmouth Beach, Oceanport, Rumson, Sea Bright, and Union Beach.