The 2017 election brought victories for many first-time candidates, including 93-year-old Vito Perillo, who was elected mayor of Tinton Falls, New Jersey.
Perillo worked as an electronics engineer and then an accountant after serving in the Navy during WWII, according to CBS. He moved to Tinton Falls in 1960, and tells the Asbury Park Press that he remembers when his mortgage was $180 per month and his salary was enough to support his family.
Perillo says he was motivated to run for office due to the continued increase in taxes and a lack of trust in the government.
"I started this journey because I was disappointed with the lack of transparency and accountability in the Tinton Falls government," he wrote on his campaign's Facebook page. "I felt the residents deserved a bigger voice and I wanted to give that voice back to the them. Seeing my neighbors forced to move due to the constant rise in property taxes was the last straw that made me petition to be on the ballot."
Born in the Bronx, New York, in 1924, Perillo surprisingly isn't the oldest mayor in the country. According to Asbury Park Press, Charles Edwin Long, the mayor of Booneville, Kentucky, is 94 and has held the office since 1959.
Running his campaign with the help of family, friends and neighbors, Perillo said he wore out two pair of shoes walking door to door with his team to pass out 7,500 flyers.
"The combination of a ground game and a Facebook page really propelled him to victory," his 26-year-old grandson told the Asbury Park Press.
Perillo defeated incumbent Mayor Gerald M. Turning.
"Tonight we took the first step in creating a new and inclusive form of government in Tinton Falls," he wrote on Facebook on election night. "To all my supporters who made your voices heard at the polls, I am profoundly grateful."
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