FLEMINGTON, NJ - About 200 people crowded into the Hunterdon County Historic Courthouse Monday to attend the 2020 reorganization meeting of the Hunterdon County Freeholders.
There were many familiar faces in the crowd, several elected state legislators and one new face on the freeholder board.
Recently re-elected Frenchtown Mayor and Clerk of the Freeholder Board Brad Myhre welcomed the crowd and led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance. The Pledge was followed by an Invocation read by Rev. David Erickson, of Old Rocks Church of Lambertville.
Flemington-based attorney John Lanza was sworn in by his father and law partner, John R. Lanza, for his third term on the freeholder board, while his wife and two young children looked on and held the Bible.
"Voters know that the county is run well, but the state is not," Lanza said. "The state is in debt, this county has none."
For the past several years, Hunterdon County has had zero debt.
"We must press forward and persevere," Lanza said.
Former West Amwell Mayor Zachery Rich was sworn in to his first term as a freeholder by New Jersey Republican Party State Chair Doug Steinhardt. Rich was brief in his remarks, remaining very positive about the future of Hunterdon County.
"Principles that guided me on the West Amwell Township Committee are the same principles that will guide me here," he said.
Long-serving freeholder Matt Holt nominated Susan Soloway for deputy freeholder director, which she won unanimously. She was sworn into the position by Sen. Michael Doherty, (LD-23).
“When I ran, I promised to run as a fiscal conservative,” Soloway said.
Shaun C. Van Doren, now in his third year on the freeholder board, was nominated by Soloway for the position of freeholder director. After being unanimously elected, Van Doren was sworn in by Sen. Tom Kean, Jr. (LD-21).
“During my first two years on the freeholder board, I benefited from the guidance from the dean of the freeholder board, Matt Holt," Van Doren said. "I always put people ahead of politics, and I will commit to conservative principles."
He went on to say that transparency will be an important goal for 2020, and promised to "provide a link to freeholder meeting recordings on the county website, starting with today's meeting." He said he will also be developing a municipal officials educational gathering, where all elected officials in the county can learn good governance skills.
Before the close of the meeting, long-time county resident and military veteran Joseph Becker, stood and thanked the freeholders for their work on maintaining the county roads,
“I have lived in the county for 78 years, three generations before that, and I thank the county engineers,” he said.