From Gary to Larry: Meet Bradley Beach’s New Mayor
By Jordyn DeJesus and Aidan Murphy
This election day, while the world was holding its breath waiting for the results of the presidential election, Bradley Beach had a close battle of its own — for mayor.
It took seven days before all the votes were finally counted. Finally, Larry Fox, a 15-year resident of Bradley Beach, won with about 53 percent of the vote against Councilman Al Gubitosi.
Mr. Fox will be sworn in to a four-year term on January 1. He is taking over from Mayor Gary Englestadt, who stepped down after eight years as mayor.
“This campaign has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, and getting to know so many of my neighbors and hear about their struggles and their dreams for Bradley Beach has been so inspirational. We have a wonderful community here,” Mr. Fox wrote on his FaceBook page.
Our reporters Jordyn DeJesus and Aidan Murphy interviewed Mr. Fox at the library.
A : What are you going to change in Bradley Beach?
L: To help the businesses on Main Street because they are struggling with the pandemic going on.
J: Are you going to lower the taxes for homeowners?
L: We will try to lower or keep the taxes flat for families with children who love spending time here, seniors and middle class people, so they don’t leave because they can’t afford the taxes.
J: What are your thoughts on the Bradley Beach Cinema?
L: A small group is talking to investors to try and start it back up after Covid-19 is over.
J : Do you have any thoughts on how the Cinema can be saved to stay open?
L: The investors want to wait till the Covid 19 vaccine comes out before they can open it. The last owner fixed the air conditioning and the boilers and then Covid hit and closed it down.
A : What do you think is going to be challenging for mayor?
L: What I think is going to be challenging is controlling taxes. Also, there is a project — the LaReine Street Church that we purchased last year, that we have to decide if there is a reasonable path forward to make this work.
J : Why did you run for mayor?
L: I wanted to run for mayor because I have some experience in volunteer work and I have some good ideas to help Bradley Beach. I was working at Johnson & Johnson for 39 years, and in 2018 I was involved heavily in a Congressional campaign.
J: Do you have any plans to change or improve the beach front?
L: There is a group that was formed that is planning stuff for the beach. They might add to the playground and they’re going to add water fill up stations and charging stations.
J : Do you have any plans to make any changes or improve Main Street especially to aid the business to be able to stay open?
L: Well yes because we usually charge people to put up tents and stuff like that but with this going on we stopped. I want to sit down with the owners and ask, “What do you need help on to stay open?” And we will help advertise take-out.
A : How do you plan on helping businesses during the pandemic continuing to stay open?
L: I want to help advertise takeout so they can at least make money because it is starting to get cold. The Back in Time Cafe near the train station can only have four tables because of the 25% capacity and as it’s starting to get cold out. She might have to close.
J: What did you do when you weren’t running for mayor?
L: After I was done working at Johnson and Johnson, I retired and did some political work and then my friend Mayor Englestadt told me he was retiring as mayor.
A : How did you get people to vote for you?
L: I went around town asking what people are focused on and what they were worried about.
J : How do you want to help Bradley beach during the pandemic?
L: I want to have safe conversations with the businesses and the people in town to see what they want to do in the town and anything else they need.
Thank you Mr. Fox! We wish you the best of luck in your new job.