Editor’s note: The following is a copy of a letter that Franklin Borough Councilman Concetto Formica sent to U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer:
Congressman Josh Gottheimer:
I am a Councilman in the Borough of Franklin in Sussex County and I am writing to you in my individual capacity.
My family is of Italian heritage.
I feel compelled to write to you to express that I am deeply and genuinely offended by your recent campaign ad about Frank Pallotta. We all expect campaign advertisements to depict their opponent in a negative light, but basic decency should dictate that racial or ethnic stereotypes not be used.
Clearly, your campaign ad is intended to simulate law enforcement surveillance of organized crime. It is obvious that you have chosen this context to highlight Mr. Pallotta’s Italian American heritage.
Your ad, approved by you, suggests that Mr. Pallotta might be involved in organized crime simply because he is of Italian American heritage. This is offensive. This is a level that should be beneath someone holding your office.
Italian Americans have contributed greatly to this country, particularly in New Jersey. You claim to have “Jersey Values,” but sending a message that all Italian Americans might be somehow connected to organized crime based upon their last name is not any “Jersey Value” that I would support.
I hope that you reconsider this ad and remove it immediately. An apology is in order to all of your constituents of Italian American heritage.
Franklin Borough Councilman