JACKSON-A meeting of the Jackson VFW Post veterans turned into a political campaign attack by the campaign for Tracie Yostpille this week.
“Thank you Michael Lynch for inviting Mayor Reina and me to speak to Jackson’s veterans tonight,” Yostpille said in a post on her political action group’s Facebook page. “Mayor Reina didn’t show up but I did. We had some great conversations. We have common concerns for our town. Thank you veterans for your service to our country.”
Reina, when contacted today regarding Yostpille’s post said his office wasn’t given details of the meeting until hours before it happened. Emails obtained of the exchange between the township’s assistant business administrator Samantha Novak and Commander Lynch detail the conversation between the township and the VFW post commander.
On October 2nd, Novak invited VFW post commander Michael Lynch to the annual Wounded Warriors parade and event at the shooting range hosted by Reina and the Central Jersey Rifle Club.
“It was nice speaking with you just a few moments ago. As a follow up to our conversation, I have attached a copy of the press release and flyer for this year’s Wounded Warrior event,” Novak wrote to Lynch. “Please share this information with the VFW members, we hope to see you all there. And please send my best to Brandi.”
Novak inquired about a possible invitation to meet with the VFW members later in the month.
“When you get a moment, kindly forward the information for the Veteran’s event taking place on Wednesday, October 17th. Thank you,” her email concluded.
Reina said he was hoping to talk to Lynch about the event at the annual Wounded Warriors Parade which many local veterans groups attend each year, but he never showed up.
“We never heard back from him,” Reina said. “I had no idea it was a candidate event until a few hours before the meeting, but by then I had already committed my time to another event.”
On October 17th, Novak finally received a reply email from Commander Lynch.
“Samantha, for the meeting tonight is 7 PM. The Mayor is welcome to come early and talk to everyone and then before the meeting begins we will allow Traci Yospile and Mike a few minutes to address VFW membership,” Lynch wrote at 9:29 am.
After trying to rework the Mayor’s schedule unsuccessfully, Novak notified Lynch at 1:08 pm.
“I just received your email below but unfortunately the Mayor already has a commitment and is unable to attend. You and I spoke briefly about this meeting on the telephone a couple weeks ago and you were going to get back to me with the details,” she wrote. “When I didn’t hear back from you we just assumed it wasn’t taking place. Please accept his apologies but with only a few hours notice, he does not have adequate time to adjust his schedule. If something changes within the next couples hours, I will advise. ”
At 10:27 pm, that night, immediately after the meeting, Yostpille posted the comment to her political action page, directed at Reina to appear that his absence was a slight to the veterans in attendance.
“We had a Veterans parade and event for our Wounded Warriors last weekend and Ms. Yostpille wasn’t in attendance, and as a matter of fact I don’t think I have ever seen her at any veteran event in town but you don’t see me running to Facebook to tell everyone to score political points,” he said.
Reina said that Yostpille’s campaign has been full of nothing but misinformation and political attacks to date, but so far lacks any real solutions to the problems the town faces.
“It’s easy to post messages on Facebook and send out flyers and postcards to scare people in town to vote for you, but once you win, you can’t solve the town’s problems on Facebook and postcards aren’t going to provide any solutions either.”
Reina said Yostpille’s latest attack was nothing but another page in her campaign’s playbook of lies, which she is being hand fed by North Jersey based Democrat political operatives controlling her campaign messages. He said he’s still waiting to see a campaign mailer that explains what her plan to “Save Jackson” really is.
Reina said he didn’t feel a meeting of the township’s war veterans was the appropriate launchpad for a political attack and that the members of the post deserve more respect than that.
“I have nothing but the utmost respect for our Veterans and do my best every day to show my gratitude and support,” Reina said. “Never in my 10 years as Mayor has anyone used a place of honor to have a debate, the brave men and women who enter through those doors earned a right to be there and do not deserve to hear politicians beg for votes. I find this whole charade an insult to our veterans to be put in that position. I do believe that all the veterans who know me, know that I have never turned away from them. “