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Joseph Scarpa (AA '88)
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Joseph Scarpa: Public Servant, Volunteer, Phi Kap

Committeeman Joseph Scarpa (ΓE ’88) may be the longest-serving Phi Kap elected official in recent memory. This month, he will seek reelection to the Township Committee in Rochelle Park, NJ, where he has served for the last 27 years.

Scarpa was first elected to the Township Committee in 1990. As his website states, “No person has served more consecutive years […] in the history of Rochelle Park.” And, while the culture around politics has changed, his vision for his hometown has not. His focus remains on fiscal conservatism and preserving the historical integrity of the community. His priorities for the upcoming term are to fight increasing fees for the Rochelle Park ambulance and to preserve the Captain Tyson House, one of the oldest and most unique buildings in Bergen County.

On the legislative side, Scarpa boasts his action against allowing convicted child killers to be eligible for parole as his proudest accomplishment.

When I spoke with him, Committeeman Scarpa credited the development of his leadership skills to his membership in Phi Kappa Sigma, which instilled a passion for public service and volunteerism. He took great pride in telling me that, in addition to being a founding member of the Gamma Epsilon Chapter, he also served as pledge class President.

His passion for public service and student affairs led to his election as a freshman to student government (the first freshman to do so). Scarpa served in the Student Government Association throughout his undergraduate career, eventually being elected President.

After that, he set his sights on public office. Soon after receiving the University Distinguished Service medal and graduating summa cum laude in 1988, Joseph moved back to his hometown and ran successfully for the Rochelle Park Township Committee.

Scarpa admits that he lost his bid for the New Jersey State Assembly, but that loss was by just 35 votes out of 56,000 votes cast—the closest race in New Jersey history.

Brother Scarpa remains active in the community outside of politics. He is heavily involved with the Rochelle Park Alliance Against Drug and Alcohol Abuse and the Bergen County 200 Club, which benefits the families of fallen first responders. For the last 22 years, he has volunteered to teach high school juniors about citizenship and government at the American Legion’s Jersey Boys State civics program.

For more information on Brother Scarpa, including his impressive list of awards and accomplishments like being named Person of the Year by New Jersey Assemblywoman Rose Heck, you can visit his website here. We wish Joseph good luck in his upcoming election and look forward to hearing about his future accomplishments.

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