MORRIS COUNTY, NJ – Republican incumbent, Tayfun Selen, and Democratic challenger, Cary Amaro, participated in a virtual forum on Mon., Oct. 12, for candidates seeking election to the position of Morris County Freeholder. The League of Women Voters (LWV) Morristown Area; Warren and West Morris Counties; and Mountain Lakes partnered with the Morris County branch of the NAACP and livestreamed the event on the YouTube channel of the Morristown Area LWV.
After greetings from Megan Davis, chair of the LWV Warren and West Morris Counties, each candidate made a two-minute opening statement, beginning with Selen.
“My name is Tayfun Selen. ‘Tayfun’ is just like the hurricane. I came to America in 1996. I didn’t speak English. I started at a gas station in Madison right here in Morris County. In 12 years -- fast-forward -- I became an American citizen. That is one of the proudest moments of my life. I pledged allegiance to the flag. Fast-forward another 12 years -- I became the mayor of Chatham Township, one of the most beautiful towns in Morris County if not in the country. So, America gave me a lot. America gave me opportunity. I worked hard and I realized the opportunities in America. So, what I would like to do is to give back to my country and my community by serving as your next freeholder. Please give me the opportunity. I’d like to earn your vote. I’d like to earn your support to serve and give [back to] my country and county.”
“This race is about putting people over politics,” Amaro said in her opening statement. “This pandemic has shown us the importance of community. As a single mom, who has taken nothing for granted, I know what it’s like to live in a state of uncertainty. We need leaders who will listen and act and use their knowledge to better the community for Morris County. For the past 14 years, I’ve guided organizations through tough situations as a controller. I know how important it is to see the entire picture to make sure every dollar counts. We need a fiscally conservative budget along with ensuring that county services, which span from climate preservation, human services, higher education, law and public safety, are efficiently serving the community. All of these work together for a sustainable future, and how we proceed...is how we move the ball forward efficiently. I believe I can bring to the freeholder board [someone who] understands the broad picture to contribute sound decisions, leadership for the community, and ensuring that we don’t forget anyone in our community. For those experiencing hardship and financial difficulties, I know what you’re going through, and we will work to make sure that we are protecting you.”
The forum moderator, Marlene Sincaglia, vice president of the LWV of Berkeley Heights, New Providence and Summit, then posed 14 questions to the candidates. All the questions were submitted by members of the community to the LWV days prior to the forum. The questions ranged from the role and impact of freeholders in the local political structure to the merger of municipalities, from reallocation of funds among public safety and mental health departments to regionalization of PreK-12 schools, from affordable housing mandates to rising property taxes.
The nearly hourlong event concluded with closing statements by the candidates.
A video of the entire forum is posted on the Morristown Area LWV’s YouTube channel.
TAPinto Denville served as the media sponsor of this event.
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