ANDOVER TOWNSHIP, NJ - More than 150 supporters came out in support of current Sussex County Freeholder Director Rich Vohden, at his campaign fundraiser on Thursday, May 2, held at the Barn at Perona Farms.
"He is loved, he's done a great job," said Vernon Township Mayor Victor Marotta of Vohden.
Bader Qarmout, a conservative advocate who has been very active in the Sussex County Republican Party said, "I am personally happy to be here for Richard. He's a great guy. He's a very competent freeholder. I like his conservative views. He's very well-informed."
Vohden has had a farm in Sussex County's Green Township for over 30 years, after having had a career in construction, and serving in the Army in Korea. On his farm he raises raspberries, asparagus, and poultry, and has been an advocate for county and Green Township farmers, having been a member of the Green Township Planning Board, Open Space Committeeman and Environmental Commission, as well as the Sussex County Open Space Committee and Planning Board.
During his career as a Sussex County Freeholder, he was elected to the board in 2010, sworn in during 2011, and this past year, became the board's director.
Governor Chris Christie appointed Vohden to the New Jersey Highlands Council, and Vohden also is Sussex County's representative on the North Jersey Transportation Authority.
Sussex County Sheriff Michael Strada introduced the dignitaries in attendance, before introducing Senator Steve Oroho, who in turn, introduced Vohden. In addition to Strada, Oroho, Marotta, and Qarmout, other dignitaries in attendance included: Sussex County Surrogate Gary Chiusano, Assemblywoman Alison Littell McHose, Assemblyman Parker Space, Sussex County Freeholders Phil Crabb, Dennis Mudrick, George Graham, and Gail Phoebus, New Jersey State Labor Commissioner Hal Wirths, former Sussex County Freeholders Glen Vetrano and Susan Zellman, Sussex County Republican Chairwoman Ailish Hambel, Hopatcong Mayor Sylvia Petillo, Frankford Township Committee Member and Freeholder Candidate Gary Larson, Newton Town Councilman Dan Flynn, Sussex County Surrogate Candidate Alicia Ferrante, former Town of Newton Mayor and Sussex County Freeholder Candidate Helen LeFrois, Andover Borough Mayor John Morgan, Green Township Committee Member Jim Chirip, and Montague Township Committee Members Gene Crawford and Paul Brislin.
"Do you ever see this man without a smile?" asked Oroho about Vohden. "He's the humblest guys you want to meet."
Oroho described Vohden as a person who learns about all topics.
"He reads everything about everything," Oroho said.
One of the topics Vohden read about was farming, a lifelong dream of his after serving in the military and working in construction.
"I want to sincerely thank you for coming out tonight," said Vohden as he took to the podium. "I'm looking out here, and it's all friends."
Vohden gave a special thanks to the person he described as his "best friend for 35 years," his wife, Faith.
"Serving as a freeholder is a very rewarding experience," Vohden said.
"I have too much energy, and I get bored easily," Vohden added. "I think it's important for a freeholder to get out as much as possible."
Vohden said freeholders make tough decisions, and boards in the past reflect that, with this year's freeholder board having had the ability to make a zero percent budget increase.
However, Vohden noted the unemployment and tax base are still high within the county. He said Sussex County is ranked as a wealthy county within the nation, yet 32 percent of county residents are having difficulties in affording to live here. He said he has been working with the freeholder board to bring change about to Sussex County to further improve the way of life for county residents.
"I want to be a part of that change," Vohden said.
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