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New Jersey

Down-on-its-luck Atlantic City swears in openly gay Republican mayor

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — What do you call a gay Republican who obsesses about street sweepers, frets that the city’s business isn’t conducted in enough languages and toys with the idea of giving free land to the poor to get it back on the tax rolls?

As of Wednesday in Atlantic City, it’s Mr. Mayor.

Don Guardian

Don Guardian

Don Guardian was sworn in as the resort city’s 49th mayor amid a brutal slowdown that has seen it lose its place as the nation’s second-largest gambling market, with casino revenues falling more than 40 percent and thousands of jobs being lost in the past six years. The 60-year-old Guardian warns of challenging times ahead as his administration tries to turn things around.

“The first couple years are going to be tough,” he said. “We’re going to be trimming the budget and looking for additional funding from the state and federal governments to help us.”

Guardian is a most unlikely mayor. His triumph in November over incumbent Democrat Lorenzo Langford shocked the city, where Democrats enjoy a 9-to-1 advantage in registration; he will be Atlantic City’s first Republican mayor in 23 years.

“Everybody brings their own life experiences,” he said. “I’m an openly gay, white Republican Roman Catholic. I’m a good man, and I make good decisions. I bring that to the job.”

Guardian is the longtime head of Atlantic City’s Special Improvement District, tasked with planting flowers, installing benches, cleaning streets and generally sprucing up key areas of the resort.

Indeed, in a resort defined for many by its casinos, Guardian is as excited about street sweepers as he is about straight flushes. He promises that by the end of the month, every street in the city will be cleaned five days a week, and one of the first things he did after being elected was meet with public works employees who clean the streets in his neighborhood to get to know them and encourage them.

His priorities include addressing the city’s crime problem, streamlining the process for developers to build and putting vacant land back on the tax rolls. He also says one of his goals is to work better with Gov. Chris Christie on matters of concern to Atlantic City — a goal the Republican governor has said he shares.

Christie and Langford were antagonists who sparred over management of the city and its efforts to evacuate residents before Hurricanes Irene and Sandy, among other topics.

Guardian also said he will unveil initiatives to attract new commercial and residential development to Atlantic City.

A particular challenge will be ending a string of tax appeals by casinos that are costing the city millions in lost revenue. He has already met with casino executives and pledged a more cooperative effort, but he couldn’t say specifically how the goal of ending tax appeals might be accomplished, particularly with the value of the casinos falling as the Atlantic City gambling market contracts.

“For gaming, the days of monopoly are gone; that’s something we understand,” Guardian said. “Our plan is to help them by running an efficient government and providing services that are second to none. There is no reason for casinos to be filing tax appeals and taking us to court. We can all sit down at the same table. We have to find a fair and equitable way for the casinos to pay taxes.”

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71 more reader comments:

  1. are you sure he is a republican?

    Posted on Wednesday, January 1, 2014 at 8:35pm
  2. Good

    Posted on Wednesday, January 1, 2014 at 8:35pm
  3. Gay republican??? Is that a typo? Lol

    Posted on Wednesday, January 1, 2014 at 8:36pm
  4. He looks a little bit like Don Rickles!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, January 1, 2014 at 8:36pm
  5. Is that a good thing or bad? Lol

    Posted on Wednesday, January 1, 2014 at 8:37pm
  6. Don’t hate on gay Republicans, it will take both parties to get 100% equality. Just like it did for past civil rights issues.

    Posted on Wednesday, January 1, 2014 at 8:39pm
  7. I won't hate on him being gay-but if he holds tea party or ultra conservative religious values forget about it..

    Replied on Wednesday, January 1, 2014 at 9:34pm
  8. Fred Karger, also an openly gay Republican, was a great nominee for President in the last election. It's just a shame the Republicans chose a greedy, inhuman, corporate butt-kisser, instead.

    Replied on Thursday, January 2, 2014 at 12:13am
  9. Well I'm just always shocked and disturbed that someone gay would actually be Republican. Why would someone vote for a party that fights every right for gays and wants to do away with rights already established. James can you point to something in Congress that the Republican party has done that is pro-gay? You can't , the only way gay rights have come forward is with the Democratic party and this President. The Republican headquarters in CA were all NO on 8 headquarters as well ,passing out anti-gay bumper stickers ,doing phones call etc... Today's Republican is not yesterday's Republican.

    Replied on Thursday, January 2, 2014 at 2:01am
  10. Most Republicans oppose Same-sex marriage and most Liberal ideologies, but some of them differ.

    Replied on Thursday, January 2, 2014 at 3:04am
  11. I choose to remember the few good republicans w have had as Presidents...before the party drifted far off into this other bs lol

    Replied on Thursday, January 2, 2014 at 3:05am
  12. Most Republicans aged 18-35 support equality. There's plenty of Democrats who are still against it. It's not a Democrat or Republican issue. It's a human issue.

    Replied on Thursday, January 2, 2014 at 3:24am
  13. It really concerns me on how there could possibly be an LGBTQ Republican..

    Posted on Wednesday, January 1, 2014 at 8:41pm
  14. There are female Catholics as well.

    Replied on Wednesday, January 1, 2014 at 9:29pm
  15. Well then…lol

    Posted on Wednesday, January 1, 2014 at 8:41pm
  16. I’m more republican on economics, democrat on social. Who cares as long as he is FOR equality.

    Posted on Wednesday, January 1, 2014 at 8:42pm
  17. Wake up Hunter Careyhunter I am a gay Republican.

    Posted on Wednesday, January 1, 2014 at 8:42pm
  18. Shocking …isnt it?

    Posted on Wednesday, January 1, 2014 at 8:42pm
  19. Nobody ever heard of log cabin republicans before? Been around forever.

    Posted on Wednesday, January 1, 2014 at 8:44pm
  20. I too am a republican, I don’t believe in hand outs!

    Posted on Wednesday, January 1, 2014 at 8:44pm
  21. which group is more disappointed? to be an openly gay Republican or an openly Republican gay

    Posted on Wednesday, January 1, 2014 at 8:44pm
  22. CAN A GAY REPUBLICAN BRING FABULOSITY TO AC? BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT IT NEEDS.

    Posted on Wednesday, January 1, 2014 at 8:47pm
  23. I don’t care if he is dem or republican…party lines used not to be so cut and dry until the last 10 yrs or so . Being intolerant due to party makes us no better than the idiots that want to stop equal rights. If he is for equality…I don’t care what party he is in.

    Posted on Wednesday, January 1, 2014 at 8:48pm
  24. Pretty sure that’s Don Rickles.

    Posted on Wednesday, January 1, 2014 at 8:49pm
  25. BUT REALLY?REPUBLICAN?RIGHT?!

    Posted on Wednesday, January 1, 2014 at 8:51pm
  26. Ha, fantastic!! One tiny step closer to equality! I’m happy for the LGBT community!!

    Posted on Wednesday, January 1, 2014 at 8:54pm
  27. I’m sorry, but the headline is just funny, makes me think ~now they might get lucky~, or, ~do people only resort to a “gay” mayor when down on their luck?~
    His sexuality is significant to this publication, because this publication focuses on issues of importance to “gays”, rah rah rah sis boom ba!
    But, otherwise, tell me WHY his sexaulity matters. .

    Posted on Wednesday, January 1, 2014 at 9:00pm
  28. William Lester-Skaggs – does that no handout stance apply to corporations or just people?

    Posted on Wednesday, January 1, 2014 at 9:00pm
  29. He looks like “Don Rickles”

    Posted on Wednesday, January 1, 2014 at 9:02pm
  30. Its like a Jewish Nazi.

    Posted on Wednesday, January 1, 2014 at 9:03pm
  31. “Gay republican” smdh

    Posted on Wednesday, January 1, 2014 at 9:04pm
  32. Now it will be fabulous!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, January 1, 2014 at 9:06pm
  33. I don’t care that he’s Gay but I would never and have never voted for a republican! Its like a Jew voting for Hitler! Period!

    Posted on Wednesday, January 1, 2014 at 9:06pm
  34. Wow, a real life unicorn.

    Posted on Wednesday, January 1, 2014 at 9:14pm
  35. i’m fiscally conservative, socially liberal. if a republican who supports gay marriage ever ran, he or she would get my vote.

    Posted on Wednesday, January 1, 2014 at 9:16pm
  36. You call him a Democrat!

    Posted on Wednesday, January 1, 2014 at 9:29pm
  37. Gay and Republican?!?! That’s an oxymoron!

    Posted on Wednesday, January 1, 2014 at 9:53pm
  38. Bryan I say that all the time!!! LOL

    Replied on Thursday, January 2, 2014 at 8:31am
  39. Woohoo.. non stop tea dances

    Posted on Wednesday, January 1, 2014 at 9:56pm
  40. Openly gay Republican…smh. Why would he want to say he’s Republican?

    Posted on Wednesday, January 1, 2014 at 10:01pm
  41. He doesn’t know that he is a functional Democrat in Republican clothes..

    Posted on Wednesday, January 1, 2014 at 10:16pm
  42. You realize there is more to being a democrat or republican than your view on gay marriage, right?

    Replied on Wednesday, January 1, 2014 at 11:23pm
  43. I do. I read the article. He is so much like the democrats I admire on so many issues that the only thing about him I don't understand is the Republican thing. Actually, I believe in the concept of loyal opposition: that the idea of different approaches working together can make for a reasonable dialog and decision process. It hasn't been working out that way the past few years, but a few decades ago, it seemed to work.

    Replied on Thursday, January 2, 2014 at 12:17am
  44. Examples of an oxymoron: gay republican; black/african american republican! ☺️☺️☺️

    Posted on Wednesday, January 1, 2014 at 10:23pm
  45. Oh, why-why-why, is he a Republican? I do not trust him.

    Posted on Wednesday, January 1, 2014 at 10:24pm
  46. How can someone gay be part of a party whose stated and printed goal is to take away the equal civil rights of gay people and families?!

    Posted on Wednesday, January 1, 2014 at 10:26pm
  47. How could someone who's black be a democrat? Democrats were pro slavery. Times change!

    Replied on Thursday, January 2, 2014 at 3:25am
  48. Democrats were for slavery over 150 years ago. Republicans were against civil rights for gay people like yesterday. They don't change that fast.

    Replied on Thursday, January 2, 2014 at 1:06pm
  49. “Maybe a gay republican can get us out of this mess!” LOL

    Posted on Wednesday, January 1, 2014 at 10:40pm
  50. Bring back the chester hotel on new York ave

    Posted on Wednesday, January 1, 2014 at 10:44pm
  51. Openly gay Republican? Why are any gays GOP?

    Posted on Wednesday, January 1, 2014 at 11:00pm
  52. Hmm. This might put Chris Christie’s drawers in a twist.

    Posted on Wednesday, January 1, 2014 at 11:07pm
  53. Traitor.

    Posted on Wednesday, January 1, 2014 at 11:11pm
  54. Anybody else notice how much he looks like Don Rickles in this picture?

    Posted on Wednesday, January 1, 2014 at 11:15pm
  55. I assume he is a Republican because he is fiscally conservative. Not everyone who is gay supports the Democrats’ fiscal policies.

    Posted on Wednesday, January 1, 2014 at 11:20pm
  56. Can you be a gay republican? Lol think that requires lowering ones standars

    Posted on Wednesday, January 1, 2014 at 11:43pm
  57. Doesn’t he look like Don Rickels?

    Posted on Wednesday, January 1, 2014 at 11:53pm
  58. Openly Gay Republican???? Am I reading this right????

    Posted on Thursday, January 2, 2014 at 12:03am
  59. Gay republican??? That’s an oxymoron!

    Posted on Thursday, January 2, 2014 at 12:17am
  60. Not sure about this headline… “Down on its luck” …. I guess the last resort is calling in the gays?

    Posted on Thursday, January 2, 2014 at 12:37am
  61. thought i would never vote for this party it is nice to see some that are out and not self hating

    Posted on Thursday, January 2, 2014 at 1:58am
  62. If we could be the kind of people who don’t oppose of human rights, not close ourselves off from the world, and not be stupid with our money then this country could work together and with other countries. But if we want to be stingy and spend money on ourselves and treat people inhumanely and close everyone off, then how will we ever get anything done in this country and how will the world ever be a better place?

    Posted on Thursday, January 2, 2014 at 3:13am
  63. About time for new blood!

    Posted on Thursday, January 2, 2014 at 3:44am
  64. They DO exist!

    Posted on Thursday, January 2, 2014 at 4:33am
  65. I have never and will never trust any Republican.

    Posted on Thursday, January 2, 2014 at 5:38am
  66. Gay and republican? Isnt that like a cockroach supporting Raid?

    Posted on Thursday, January 2, 2014 at 5:54am
  67. Republicans and Gay don’t really mix together…

    Posted on Thursday, January 2, 2014 at 8:56am
  68. Oh that’s so great!

    Posted on Thursday, January 2, 2014 at 12:11pm
  69. Are there gay republicans?? Wao!!!

    Posted on Thursday, January 2, 2014 at 5:04pm
  70. Posted on Thursday, January 2, 2014 at 5:39pm
  71. Truly an unholy union
    Why the hell would Atlantic City elect anybody from the GOP?

    Posted on Thursday, January 2, 2014 at 5:47pm