Andy Smith of Summit Seeking Election to Union County Board of Freeholders

29e7a2d494178d389a9d_a_smith2__sn_.jpg
Andy Smith
29e7a2d494178d389a9d_a_smith2__sn_.jpg

SUMMIT, NJ – As Election Day looms, Andy Smith is excited.

The Summit resident is running for Union County Freeholder, a Republican trying to get elected to a board that has been entirely Democrat for 15 years. He and his running mate, Edwin Ortiz, are aware that their campaign is an uphill battle, but that doesn’t faze Smith, who says the facts speak for themselves: Union County government is corrupt and needs an overhaul.

And what has Smith excited is that the more people he talks to, the more people he realizes agree with him on the need for change, and for accountability, at the county level.

Sign Up for E-News

Smith lives in Summit with his wife Kathryn, and their three kids. He has been a member of the Summit Health Board, adjunct general of the American Legion, and vice chair of the Summit Republican City Committee.

“During that time, one of the people who got me involved in politics was (Summit Common Council member) Ellen Dickson,” Smith said. “She ran for freeholder last year, and I started paying attention to what was going on in county. That’s when I decided to run for freeholder.”

Smith, an attorney and veteran, calls what’s going on in Union County “amazing.”

“The city of Summit sends more money to the county than any other, so more of our property taxes are going to the county than to run the city,” he said. “And to me, there’s something wrong with that. We’re giving many times what others are giving to county, and we’re not getting those dollars reinvested in Summit.”

Smith said the communities of which the current freeholders are members get the majority of dollars.

“But that aside, the simple matter is we have an extremely bloated county budget,” he said. “It’s gotten way out of control.”

Part of the issue, Smith believes, is that it has been a one-party board – all Democrats – for 15 years. That kind of single-party ruling can too easily lead to a lack of checks and balances, and the resulting problems are serious.

Smith points to the MusicFest issue as an example. The prosecutor investigated the event, held annually for the past 14 years, and found that the record-keeping was shoddy, vendors had been overpaid and money was missing.

“The county claimed it cost $440,000, when in reality, it cost $1.1 million,” Smith said. “It’s the classic case of the fox watching the henhouse.”

Another example of poor governance is the Union County Alliance, he said, which files erroneous tax returns and is managed by the sister-in-law of a freeholder who is never in the office and never returns phone calls.

“They spend $350,000 a year to do that,” Smith said. “And these aren’t reports we’re generating as angry Republicans, these are news stories. There’s a lot that’s going on in terms of waste, nepotism, corruption.”

Smith is running with Edward Ortiz and said that even if voters don’t agree with them 100 percent on every issue, he hopes people see the need for another voice on the board.

“We’re just looking to bring in a new voice, a new perspective, to hold them accountable for their actions,” Smith said. “There are a lot of things that need to happen on the freeholder board, and we have a plan for how we want to do that, how we want to bring about those changes that Union County so desperately needs.”

Smith said there was a debate in October in Plainfield, and that’s when it became clear that the present freeholders have no plans to relieve the county’s tax burden. Smith said he asked several times about that and other issues, and no one on the present board even responded.

“When people start looking at what’s going on in the county, I think they’re starting to get it,” he said. “I really think our message is resonating with people. We’re excited.”

For more information, visit www.andysmithnj.com and www.didyouknowuc.com.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Berkeley Heights

Sharing Strength, Giving Back: Become a Volunteer Advocate for Victims of Sexual Violence

April 23, 2018

Openings are still available in the upcoming training series for Volunteer Advocates for victims of sexual violence. The sessions are scheduled twice weekly beginning on Tuesday, May 1 and continuing until Thursday, June 14.

The training is free. No previous experience in counseling is required. Volunteer Advocates work with the professional staff at Union County’s Rape Crisis Center to ...

Free Public Panel Will Explore Sexual Assault and Consent

The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders invites members of the public to attend a panel discussion on sexual assault and consent on Wednesday, April 25 at 2:00 p.m. in Room N-4 at Union County College, 1033 Springfield Avenue in Cranford. The panel will feature a question and answer session.

The panel discussion is intended to raise awareness about sexual assault and consent in ...

Presentation on College Admission and College Readiness At New Providence High School, Tuesday, April 24

New Providence High School will host a special parent presentation, “College Admission Does Not Guarantee College Readiness!” with Dr. Joel Ingersoll, Tuesday, April 24 at 7:00 p.m. in the New Providence High School Auditorium, 35 Pioneer Drive.

Dr. Joel, a NJ Licensed Psychologist and Certified Master Coach, will lead a one-of-a-kind experience, designed to help you maximize ...

Politics IS Government in Union County

April 22, 2018

After Bruce Patrson of Garwood was stopped from speaking at the Union County freeholder meeting of March 22 regarding the politics behind refusing to give the party line to a sitting freeholder I thought this brazen suppression of free speech could not go unanswered. A the the April 19 meeting I answered with these comments.

After ten years of following government in Union County I conclude ...

New Providence Borough Council to Cultivate Relationships with County Officials

April 12, 2018

NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – Councilman Robert Robinson touted the importance of personal relationships with Union County representatives at the Monday, April 9 council meeting.

Union County Freeholders Angel Estrada and Bette Jane Kowalski attended the Street Smart campaign kick-off event prior to the meeting providing the council members with the opportunity to chat face-to-face with the two ...

Student Led #Rally4 Action to Protest Gun Violence Held Friday in Springfield

April 21, 2018

SPRINGFIELD, NJ - Fueled partially by their disappointment that students were not allowed to leave school for the nationwide student protest last month, student leaders planned a rally Friday on the nineteenth anniversary of the Columbine massacre in Colorado. At 4:30 p.m., students, parents, families, community members met at Chisholm Community Center to register voters, make ...

Student Led #Rally4 Action to Protest Gun Violence Held Friday in Springfield

April 21, 2018

SPRINGFIELD, NJ - Fueled partially by their disappointment that students were not allowed to leave school for the nationwide student protest last month, student leaders planned a rally Friday on the nineteenth anniversary of the Columbine massacre in Colorado. At 4:30 p.m., students, parents, families, community members met at Chisholm Community Center to register voters, make ...

Upcoming Events

Thu, April 26, 7:00 PM

New Providence Memorial Library, New Providence

Outsmart the Scammers

Education Law & Justice

Fri, April 27, 5:30 PM

Brookside Community church, Mendham

Raptor Trust Presentation and Pasta Dinner

Arts & Entertainment Education Food & Drink

Carousel_image_4b4bef174301461e6e3a_81afd120e2a1e04c4169_2015_hotdogs

Fri, April 27, 7:30 PM

MONDO & Summit Area YMCA, Summit

Movie Night at Mondo "Food Evolution"

Food & Drink Health & Wellness

Sat, April 28, 7:00 PM

Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church, Plainfield

Plainfield Symphony Mahler's 9th Symphony

Arts & Entertainment

Sun, April 29, 1:00 PM

The Monninger Center/The Orangerie at Fairleigh Dickinson University Madison Campus, Madison

Sculpting the Land - Creating Gilded Age Gardens

Education Green Home & Garden