“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” These are famous and true words spoken by President Barack Obama. Words that ring true today more than ever and words that represent all of us.
In 2002, 16 years ago, I left India to come to the United States to fulfill my dream. I knew life had handed me a chance and I intended to make the best of it. Last year, July 29, 2017, I achieved a significant part of my dream when I raised my right hand and took the oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States and became a citizen of the United States of America. Two days later I registered to vote. To gain my citizenship I had to read and understand the constitution and major points of American history. I learned that good citizenship requires participation.
Our elected officials running Morris County suffer from a lack of perspective caused by living in a one-party bubble and they are not preparing for the future. This is why I am running for Freeholder. Our county has been under Republican rule for more than 40 years and complacency has set in. New ideas have not been implemented; no new direction that benefits the common good has been sought; no preparation for the future has been made.
There is no serious planning for the impact on our lives of thousands of new housing units; thousands of new homes which will produce intense strains on traffic, roads, bridges, schools, potable water supplies, sewage disposal, police and fire protection. The current board of freeholders lacks a sense of the future and lacks a sense of urgency to prepare for what is to be. The pressure on our county infrastructure will degrade our quality of life if we don’t take immediate steps to protect the half-million residents of Morris County. I propose bringing together the Mayors of all the 39 towns and sitting down to create a workable plan for the entire county. An effective planning board at the county level needs to bring town planning board officials together to ensure that building is done in a way that when Denville builds Morris Plains does not suffer. We need to meet our future in a way that is prudent and does not kick the can down the road.
Court ordered housing construction has already begun in several towns and the impact of these court orders will result in thousands of new residences and will resonate not just in those communities, but throughout the county. We need county leadership which will work hard and plan carefully to make the best of this uncertain future.
The Freeholders have chosen to take out debt to build a jail that is not even completely utilized and which costs tax payers $20 million a year and now they want $106 million to build a courthouse. I say no more to unnecessary spending.
We want smart government: government that works not just for the party in power, but for all of us. We want government that implements programs to create jobs, shares services with other counties and among towns, stabilizes the tax rate and implements social programs that help those in need. Republicans talk about small government and attack us for raising taxes, but who has been in control these past decades? There have been three consecutive years of tax increases which were unanimously approved by the all-Republican board.
We haven’t held any freeholder seats for the last 45 years. Why are the current office holders blaming others for their mistakes? Our infrastructure is crumbling and our veterans and children do not have the support they need. We want to spend tax payer dollars to fix our roads and bridges, improve county parks and roads, create training programs for our veterans and enhanced funding for Votech.
Morris is traditionally a Republican County, but things are changing and the people need voices on the Board that represent them; the Board of Morris County Freeholders needs to represent all of the people of Morris County.