Traditionally, the leader of a municipality has a wealth of experience that comes with age. But for South Orange Village President Alex Torpey, 24 years is enough for him to be in charge of a $32 million budget for a municipality that’s home to 16,000 people and Seton Hall University. The young politician became interested in government toward the end of high school and explored that interest during college. After graduating, he became heavily involved in South Orange and was elected village president by a margin of 14 votes. He was sworn in to the four-year term in May.
Torpey sat down with NJToday’s Mike Schneider to discuss his successful young career and what the response has been. Torpey said he has been met with disbelief and skepticism, but there are a growing number of people who seem excited about the idea of a young person getting involved in government. He said he hopes to include more South Orange residents in the process by getting them to come to meetings and volunteer on various boards. Torpey is focused on controlling property taxes, especially through downtown revitalization that would bring more businesses to the area.