A 93-year-old World War II veteran was sworn in as mayor of a New Jersey town this week, the Asbury Park Press reported.
Vito Perillo, 93, was elected mayor of Tinton Falls, New Jersey, in November in what the Asbury Park Press called “a stunning upset” over incumbent Mayor Gerald M. Turning.
Perillo officially assumed his duties on Tuesday evening. State Sen.-elect Vin Gopal (D-Long Branch) administered the oath of office in a swearing-in ceremony.
"This was a very historic election," Gopal said at the ceremony, according to the Asbury Park Press. "Vito, for all of you know — World War II veteran, served his country, now has come back to serve his town. It's really an inspirational story."
As his family and campaign volunteers watched, Perillo took the oath of office with a Bible that belonged to his late wife, Mae, who died in 2013. They were married for 64 years.
Perillo told the Asbury Park Press that he decided to run for mayor because he loves his town but thinks the taxes are too high. Politics in Tinton Falls are officially nonpartisan, but Perillo is a registered Republican.
“What the hell is that all about?” Perillo said in an Asbury Park Press video as he brandished a county tax form. “I say, ‘hogwash.’”
Perillo, a U.S. Navy veteran and a former electronics engineer for the U.S. Department of Defense, said, according to the Asbury Park Press, that he wore out two pairs of shoes as he campaigned door-to-door all over Tinton Falls.
“I don’t think I missed one corner of the town,” he said.
He said he wants to serve the people of his town well, the Asbury Park Press reported.
“I just hope I don’t disappoint them,” he said.
Perillo told The Associated Press in November after his election that "I don't think of 93 as being old."
"It's another day," he said. "To me, it's another day."
The Asbury Park Press noted that although Perillo is 93, he is not the country’s oldest mayor. Mayor Charles Edwin Long, 94, of Booneville, Kentucky, holds that title. Long has been mayor of Booneville since 1959.