GOP’s Jared Valanzola Taking Experience In Local Politics To Plymouth County Commissioner Race

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Jared Valanzola has spent many years around local politics and wants to use that experience at a higher level in the county.

The 32-year-old has served on Rockland’s planning board since 2015, and has been on a pair of school building committees in town. He is the vice chairman of the Plymouth County GOP, and his father Lou is a former Rockland selectman. Now, Valanzola is running to be a Plymouth County Commissioner.

Two seats the three seats on the county commission are available this year. There are three candidates running:  Valanzola; incumbent Greg Hanley, a Democrat; and John Riordan of Marshfield, also a Democrat.

One incumbent, Daniel Pallotta, a Republican, isn’t running for re-election. (The term of the third commissioner, Republican Sandra Wright, will be up in 2022.)

County commissioner isn’t a high-profile office in Massachusetts, but it’s busier than many people think. Massachusetts has 14 counties, of which seven still have a regional government entity with some authority.

The Plymouth County Commission is responsible for maintenance of the Brockton Superior Court, Hingham District Court, and Wareham District Court. It also administers multiple pieces of county-owned land, including a 90-acre farm in Plymouth; obtains federal aid, including coronavirus money earlier this year, and distributes it to towns in the county; offers grants to towns to support their tourism industries; has custody of county government records dating back to the 1600s; funds the maintenance and operation of a fire patrol airplane; and has budgetary oversight over the parking tickets in the county.

Valanzola has had his eye on the county commission.

“I’ve always been interested in it,” Valanzola told New Boston Post. “I’m a history nerd. I’m a government nerd. I’ve looked at the way governments work throughout the country and New England has always been home ruled. That’s great. I love town government. It’s a great way for people to get involved and help their community. I wanted to take that to the next level, and county government was naturally the next move when the opportunity presented itself.”

So what does that mean Valanzola would do, if elected to office?

He said fiscal responsibility will be a priority, as will bringing more money into the county.

“I’ll make no mistake about it, COVID is going to impact the budget and some difficult decisions will have to be made,” he said. “But we want to pivot Plymouth County government to be more useful for towns and our one city Brockton. There’s a lot of opportunities for regionalization in our government around the smaller-to-medium size communities. It could be something as similar as a dog catcher, or veteran services.

“And the one I’ve been beating the drum on is grant writers,” he added. “Even the larger towns in Plymouth County can’t afford a dedicated grant writer, and that’s millions and millions of federal dollars that we send to Washington and need to get back into our communities and into our pockets. The taxpayers would see a lot of benefit.”

Valanzola said a recent example of county government working in the best interest of the people was the $90 million of federal coronavirus money (through the CARES Act) that came into Plymouth County. He said that’s money the Commissioners advocated for and are distributing to the 27 towns and cities in the county.

“It’s an advantage we have over the seven counties in this state that got rid of county government,” he said. “They’re completely at the mercy of the state. They don’t have a county government to lobby and advocate for them.”

Additionally, Valanzola said he would use the position to help the county’s tourism industry.

“Tourism is one of our biggest industries,” he said. “I think county government could be promoting it. Obviously Plymouth is the big one, but there’s a lot of hotels outside of Plymouth. Rockland alone has three hotels. People are going to Plymouth, the Cape, and Boston. But a lot of these hotels have proximity to both areas. Rockland is 25 minutes from downtown Plymouth, and 25 minutes to Boston when there’s no traffic.”

Valanzola said one upside of running in Plymouth County is how it’s a relatively strong place for Republicans in the state. He cited Sheriff Joe McDonald and District Attorney Tim Cruz as examples of it in addition to Pallotta and Wright.

“They’ve shown what good Republican leadership in the county can do,” he said. “The big struggle sometimes Republicans have is showing that our policies and ideas are great ideas that work since we don’t always have the opportunity. Electorally speaking, it’s a good county for Republicans — because there’s been good leadership for many years.”

New Boston Post contacted both Democratic candidates. Hanley told New Boston Post in an email message that people should check out his web site ( for more information. Riordan did not respond to New Boston Post’s request for comment on Monday or Tuesday.

More information on Valanzola’s campaign is available on his campaign Facebook page