New Providence Councilman Brooke Hern tells a great story about his experiences as an aide to then-Congressman Robert Torricelli:
“I had only recently graduated from the Political Science program at American University, and I had landed a job working for the Torch. It was my responsibility to keep the Congressman on schedule and fully briefed for each stop along the way. Typically, I would begin and end most days either at the Congressman’s house or at our district office. But this not-so-typical day in politics would end dodging cars in the streets of Newark. Moments before my unexpected stop, we were making our way past was was the site of the Torch’s Senate office in the Gateway complex. The Congressman was talking on his cellular telephone. As we turned the corner and proceeded along McCarter Highway, he suddenly ended his call and issued an unexpected command: “Stop the car, right here!” Naturally, I checked the mirror and began to pull into the far right lane, when he commanded, “No! Right here!” That was quickly followed by a resounding “get out! Get out! GET OUT!” At first I thought perhaps the car was on fire, and that he was merely concerned for my safety. But as I stepped out of the car and watched him slide into the driver seat and speed away, it was quite clear that I had just been tossed aside like a dead armadillo. As I watched the Congressman drive away, I realized that my keys were in the ignition of his car, and that he was approaching a red light at the corner. I quickly made my way to the car and tapped on the window, and told him that I needed to retrieve my keys. Otherwise, I would not be able to drive my car and get into my house. When the light turned green, he pulled through the intersection and over to the right side of the road. As he twisted himself into the back seat and aggressively wrestled with his suit jacket, he reprimanded me because he could not find his keys. I reached into the car and removed my keys from the ignition. He finally located his keys, closed the window, and drove away. Then I walked to Penn Station and took a bus to our District Office in Hackensack, where I retrieved my car and drove home. I appeared at his house the next day to pick him up. Thereafter, we never spoke of the incident. We simply carried on as if it never happened.”
Hern is now a Republican.