Elliott: ‘I listen’ to ideas

Published 10:04 pm Saturday, June 9, 2012

Joe Elliott isn’t a career politician — and that’s the way it should be, he says.

“The original intent was that the House of Representatives would be occupied by the common man,” he said. “I started to run on that premise. I decided to run after watching what has not been happening in Washington. I got frustrated.”


Elliott is an art teacher at Sussex High School and Sussex Middle School. After obtaining his degree in commercial art and design, he has worked at Fort Lee and in juvenile corrections centers before landing in Sussex County. He also worked as a hotel auditor while in school, “so I did gain some accounting background,” he said.


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One of Elliott’s main concerns is ending the “use it or lose it” practice in the federal budget, whereby he says government agencies hurriedly spend all their money at the end of the year for fear of getting their budgets cut the next year because they didn’t need it.

“We see a lot of different types of wasteful spending,” he said. “I observed this firsthand at Fort Lee.”

Elliott said he once spoke to an Army officer who, while in Germany, had to spend $250,000 in a week. He built a baseball field.

“We can change that practice,” Elliott said. “That’s the way we can start to eliminate the deficit and have the money to build infrastructure and so on.”

Elliott also is concerned with energy, saying the government needs to end subsidies to oil companies and look into sustainable energy.

In the education realm, Elliott said he would like to get more community colleges and vocational schools to support students who are not going to four-year colleges after high school.

“I think we need to look at how we are teaching our kids,” he said.

Elliott said voters should hire him because he has vision and creativity.

“I won’t tell anybody I have all the ideas, but I do listen to what people are saying,” he said. “I’m open to suggestions. It’s going to take a lot of brainpower to get us out of the mess we’re in.”