Robert A. Austino
Cumberland County Sheriff
Sheriff Robert A. Austino brings over 30 years of law enforcement experience to the Sheriff’s Office. He was hired by the Vineland Police Department in April 1973. He worked his way up the ranks of the Vineland Police Department to the rank of lieutenant. Sheriff Austino retired from the Vineland Police Department in July of 2003. He was elected Sheriff of Cumberland County and took office January 1, 2009
Sheriff Austino attended Bridgeton High School, Cumberland County College and Glassboro State College.
Sheriff Austino currently is a member of the International Association of Chief of Police, National Sheriff’s Association, New Jersey Sheriff’s Association, Cumberland County Human Relations Commission and Cumberland County Youth Services Advisory Council. He is also an advisor for the Cumberland County VoTech Center. He is past president of the Fraternal Order of Police, Cumberland Lodge #8 and president of the Vineland Superior Officers Association
Nicasio “Nick” Acevedo III, Esq.
For over 40 years Nick and his family have lived in Upper Deerfield Township. When first arriving to Cumberland County he fell in love with the people and the land. In that time before going to college, Nick was traveling to and spending much of his time in Washington DC writing and lobbing to implement a mobile heath service program targeted to the health of the farm workers in the area. When he returned many years later he choose Cumberland County, to live and raise a family.
As a past time, Nick enjoys fishing and outdoor activities. He has explored the finest environmental corners of Cumberland County. Quoting Businardo from his radio show; “you have to touch the earth” Nick does just that, from Parvin’s State Park to Bevins, Fortescue and Mad Horse Creek he enjoys the beauty that our area has to offer.
Nick graduated from Stockton State College with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. While still a student himself, Nick helped create of one of the first residential GED programs in the state. This residential program provided a safe space for students to finished high school while at the same time exposing them to a college environment. Nick has always said; “you can’t be or achieve something if you don’t know it exists”. These early residential programs allowed students to explore different academic fields languages and ideas. This work may have been the inspiration and foundation for programs which we now know as academic boot camps around the country.
Upon graduation, Nick continued to serve as a member of Stockton’s Community Advisory Board. For his contributions and dedication, he would later receive an Award of Appreciation for his service.
After Stockton, he joined the Office of Energy Conservation and Weatherization with the Department of Community Affairs where he contributed to the creation of the “Home Inspection Protocol”. Allowing the program to provide effective weatherization for thousands of homes to reduce their energy usage. The lives of many seniors and families in the state, were improved by cost savings and comfort.
Returning to his studies, Nick would go on to attend and graduate from Temple law school and start his own law practice in Philadelphia. He is the founder and principal of Acevedo and Associates, Attorneys at Law. His many years of legal experience and public service has afforded him the opportunity to continue to serve his community by providing many legal services to individuals, business, churches and community organizations.
As an attorney in good standing for over 30 years, Nick holds himself to the highest standards of integrity, professionalism and character.
During his law career, Nick was asked to take a sabbatical from his practice to join the New Jersey Department of Commerce where he would become Vice President of Domestic and Foreign Business Attraction and Retention. While in this role he would bring many economic and business investment opportunities to South Jersey and Cumberland County, which he continues to perform today as an attorney.
John P. Capizola, Jr.
Cumberland County Commissioner
John P. Capizola, Jr., lovingly known as Johnny was born and raised in Vineland, NJ by his parents John and Denise Capizola. He has one sister, Michelle Capizola-Giercyk, who is a Guidance Counselor at Millville High School in Millville, NJ.
Johnny earned a Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Delaware where he majored in health and physical education and obtained his NJ teaching certificate in Physical Education (K-12). In 2008 he completed a Master’s Degree Program in Educational Leadership at Wilmington University, graduating Summa Cum Laude with Distinction by earning a 4.0-grade point average. Upon graduation he fulfilled the requirements to achieve his New Jersey Principal and Supervisor Certifications.
Johnny has always loved sports and the bonding that comes with team sports. Not surprisingly Johnny is currently a health and physical education teacher at Anthony Rossi Elementary School for the Vineland Public Schools District and has been an educator for more than 22 years.
Coaching is a passion of Johnny. He has spent hundreds of hours coaching children with the East Vineland Little League, the Vineland YMCA, the Vineland Basketball Association, and the Vineland Soccer Association. Johnny also coached baseball at the high school level in Atlantic City and fall ball for Vineland students. He is also a board member for the Vineland Midget Football League. What started out as a bonding activity with his 4-year-old son has led to a pseudo profession.
Through the years Johnny has had many business ventures, the first was opening of a restaurant called Serafina‘s Ristorante & Pizzeria in Millville with his Mother in. Law. Not long after that, he owned Parkside Laundromat in Millville NJ. Currently, John is the owner/operator of “Mulch Man” LLC of Vineland. All of this has given Johnny a first-hand experience of what it takes to be a successful business entrepreneur.
If you ask John, his greatest achievement is his family. His wife, Giovanna, is an Italian Language Teacher at Ocean City High School, in Ocean City, NJ. They were married in 2005 and together with their 12-year-old son Marco, and their French Bulldog Polo, they enjoy family, home, and community right in their hometown of Vineland.
John’s education, career, business experience, and desire to give back to his community makes him a stand out leader and steward for the well-being of his community.
La Rae Hilda Smith
Cumberland County Commissioner
La Rae Hilda Smith was born in Stratford, New Jersey but raised in Bridgeton. She is the only child of her parents, Ann E. (Newton) Mack and the late Robert (Bobby) Mack.
As a student at Bridgeton High School, La Rae was not only an honor student academically but an outstanding athlete. She received the varsity award blazer by achieving varsity standing in three different sports, field hockey, basketball and track and field. As a leader on and off the field, she was a member of the National Honor Society, President of the Class of 1986 and Captain or Co-Captain for each of the three varsity teams she played. If that wasn’t enough, she also received four varsity letters being the High School Football Team Statistician.
Continuing in higher education at Stockton University, La Rae earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business Administration. She was awarded Dean List honors 5 times. She continues in her lifelong learning by pursuing her master’s degree from credits earned from Rowan University, Wilmington University, Rutgers Camden and currently, Montclair University.
Since 2007, La Rae has worked in education with the Commercial Township Board of Education. She is currently a Social Service Coordinator for the United Methodist Communities in Ocean City, New Jersey. With her vast background in Economic Development, Community Education, and Business, La Rae successfully completed a Certificate of Achievement from Atlantic Cape Community College’s Self-Employment Assistance Program in January 2006. February 2006, she opened her first business, LHS Consulting Services, which assist non-profits, faith-based organizations and individuals pursuing grants and funding resources to support their ventures. This business is still in operation, and profitable. Her second business venture was with Initial Inc., a home-based merchandise business. This business was successful as well and in 2022 merged with Tastefully Simple Products. La Rae is the Founder/Owner/Director of Kingdom Building Academy, LLC a Private Learning Center for Newborn to College Bound Children. This Academy was established in 2019 as a home-based business and has grown over the years with referrals from the State of New Jersey Department of Youth and Family Services, the local community, and faith-based organizations.
Community involvement runs deep in La Rae’s veins. She has been recognized by the First District New Jersey Congress of the United States House of Representatives and Cumberland County Democratic Women receiving the Outstanding Women of Cumberland County Certificate of Commendation presented by Cumberland County Commissioners. She is Chair of the Land Use Board in Commercial Township, Chair of the Democratic Party for Commercial Township, and serves as an elected official of the Commercial Township Board of Education. Her volunteer work in recreational leagues, faith-based activities, and community service speaks volumes to her compassion and integrity. She serves as a champion to the voices of people in this great community that she loves.
The greatest joy in La Rae’s life is spending quality time with her family. Her family is a blend of generations that consist of her loving husband Kevin, four sons, and her loving Mother, Ann, and with a host of in-laws, uncles, aunts, grandchildren, great grandchild, cousins and family friends the family gatherings at their home in Port Norris stretch beyond the immediate family. The gatherings usually extend over a weekend because of the distance that some have to travel to get to Port Norris, but an open door policy and great food is always the talk of the small quaint town. And last but not least, Zoe, a pure breed German Sheppard is the new addition to the family. She is full of energy and loves to greet La Rae after a long day at work.
Special mention: Tragically, La Rae and her husband Kevin lost their daughter, Kiyona, to Cancer two decades ago. She was only 17 years old. We dedicate this moment to her memory.
Dr. Joeigh Perella
Cumberland County Commissioner
Joeigh Perella was born and raised in Bridgeton, NJ by her parents, Joe and Cindy Perella. She has one younger sister, Shayna Brady, who is a Special Education teacher in Downingtown, PA. Growing up Joeigh was surrounded by a large loving family. She attended school, first at Hopewell Crest Elementary and then Cumberland Regional High School, where she graduated in 2008. After High school Joeigh attended Rowan University where she graduated with Honors with a B.S. in Biology. Having grown up fascinated with medicine and the arts, Joeigh combined both interests in pursuing a career in Dentistry.
She was accepted and attended Tufts University School of Dental Medicine in the fall of 2013 and completed her DMD program in 2017. After graduating Joeigh spent a year working in Allentown, PA before moving back to Cumberland County in late 2018. Since 2018 she has been working as an Associate Dentist in Millville, NJ at Jacquet Family Dentistry.
When she isn’t treating patients Joeigh can be found spending time on the many community service and volunteer organizations she is involved with. Since 2019 she has been a member of the Tri-County Rotary and has participated in many of the community service events; including Loads of Love, a project started by the club to help community members afford their cost of doing laundry. She also worked with the club to put on a small free dental clinic in 2021. For these efforts she was recognized by the Regional Rotarian Governor in 2021. The following year Joeigh was awarded the Business Professional Award at the Millville Chamber of Commerce Pride of Millville event.
Since 2020 Joeigh has been a member of the Rowan University Alumni Board, volunteering to give back to her Aluma Mater. Being apart of the Rowan Community again always refuels her spirit. In 2021 Joeigh was asked to join the board of the newly formed Robert V. Hoffman III Memorial Fund, a non-profit started by her cousin, Ragan Hoffman in memory of her brother. Together with the rest of the board they have been working to spread awareness about mental illness in their local community to empower people to seek help for depression or to recognize when those around them may need care.
Joeigh currently lives in Vineland, NJ. Where she enjoys spending time with friends and family. In her downtime she enjoys gaming, computer or table top games, and reading. You’ll always find a collection of books by her bedside that she is working on reading. And since 2021 Joeigh has been discovering her true identity and she transition from male to female. Enjoying the euphoria she feels every step along the way!
Assembly- Legislative District One
Damita White-Morris: A Dedicated Advocate for Early Childhood Education
Damita White-Morris is a proud native of Bridgeton, where she has established herself as a passionate and accomplished Director within Early Childhood Education. With unwavering commitment, she has devoted her career to supporting families and students, holding various influential leadership roles in esteemed organizations such as the Bridgeton School Employee Association, Cumberland County Council of Education Association, New Jersey Education Association, and the National Education Association.
Beyond her professional endeavors, White-Morris is deeply rooted in her community and actively participates in numerous organizations. She is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., where she contributes to the sorority’s mission of sisterhood, scholarship, and service. Additionally, she is associated with the Order of the Eastern Stars, PHA (Prince Hall Affiliated), the Juvenile Conference committee, and serves as the Municipal Chair for the City of Bridgeton Democratic Committee. As a champion for women’s rights and democratic principles, White-Morris holds the esteemed position of President of the NJ Federation of Democratic Women Cumberland County.
Academically, White-Morris has pursued her passion for education and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry and Criminal Justice from Delaware State University. With a thirst for knowledge and a desire to enhance her expertise, she also earned a Masters in Science from Wilmington University, solidifying her strong foundation in the field of education.
While her professional accomplishments are remarkable, White-Morris cherishes her roles as a wife, mother of five daughters, and caregiver. She understands the importance of balancing her personal and professional commitments, serving as an inspiration to those around her.
In summary, Damita White-Morris exemplifies the qualities of a compassionate leader and advocate for early childhood education. Her extensive experience, community involvement, and academic achievements reflect her unwavering dedication to empowering families, nurturing students, and making a positive impact in Bridgeton and beyond.
Assembly- Legislative District One
Eddie L. Bonner, Sr. was born and raised in Bridgeton, NJ on February 11th 1964 to the late Willie R Bonner and Carol P Forman.
Upon graduating from Bridgeton Senior High School in 1982 Eddie attended Lincoln Technical Institute earning a degree in Architectural Drafting and Mechanical Drafting as well as Computer Aided Drafting.
In the summer of 1986, Eddie L. Bonner, Sr. entered into a career of law enforcement. He applied to and graduated from the police academy and became a member of the Bridgeton Police Department, retiring in 1998.
Since his retirement from Bridgeton Police Department, Eddie has continued to work in armed security in the private sector. Eddie is currently a District Manager for KD National Force Security located in Egg Harbor Township, NJ. He supervises three (3) institutes of learning and five (5) armed officers at Cumberland Regional High, Hopewell Crest Elementary School and Cumberland Christian School all located in Cumberland County. Eddie has also worked as a substance abuse counselor at Southwoods State Prison.
Eddie is a Master Mason and an active member of Ionic Lodge #40 F & AM in Bridgeton, NJ and with Prince Hall Masonry throughout New Jersey. He serves as Vice -President of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge State of NJ Temple Association Board. Eddie presently serves as the Worthy Patron of Ionic Chapter #15 Order of the Eastern Star, Prince Hall Affiliation.
Eddie is married to Natuchia Frazier- Bonner and has three sons Eddie L. Bonner Jr, Stefon O. Bonner, Taquann Frazier and one daughter Tanayia Frazier. Eddie L. Bonner. Sr., a long time resident of Bridgeton NJ, currently resides in Vinel and, NJ.