Van Pelt, who also served ten years as mayor of Ocean Township, made his name pushing through development projects in Ocean County.
He fiercely defended his record to ABC News, explaining that the deals made as mayor and assemblymen were the best for the town – a necessary compromise between development and environmental concerns.
"They have to protect the environment and I understood that," Van Pelt said of the Sierra Club's efforts to limit development.
"People are going to develop anyway," he added. "Whether I'm here or someone else is here. We just tried to do it the right way."
Kevin Morris is a graduate of Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and formerly worked as a translator and journalist in China.