Elections

Touting their Record, Democrats Seek Re-Election to Middlesex Freeholder Board

121f1e1a3dc7c2003d69_mcdo_seal.jpg
121f1e1a3dc7c2003d69_mcdo_seal.jpg

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ — Two Democrats on the Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders will try to fend off a challenge from within their party tomorrow, June 6, in the primary election.

Freeholder Director Charlie Tomaro and Freeholder Leslie Koppel, who was appointed to the board early this year to fill an unexpired term, hope to represent the Democrats in the November election. Two three-year terms on the county board will be up for grabs then.

Tomaro and Koppel are running on the Middlesex County Democratic Organization’s ticket. They’re up against a pair of Bernie Sanders-inspired hopefuls from the Central Jersey Progressive Democrats.

Sign Up for E-News

Freeholder Shanti Narra, meanwhile, is running unopposed to fill one year of an unexpired term on behalf of the Middlesex County Democratic Organization in the primaries. But she will face a Republican challenger in the fall.

Legislators on the county freeholder board develop policies, vote on ordinances and resolutions and work with administrators to enact their agendas, representing residents of the 25 municipalities in Middlesex.

Primary elections offer partisans the chance to choose their candidates in the November general election. Registered Democrats may vote tomorrow in their party’s primaries, and Republicans may do the same for their party.

Unaffiliated voters may ask for a ballot from either party at their polling stations. By doing so, however, voters become registered with the party in whose primary they voted.

Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. For information on where to vote, click here.

TAPinto New Brunswick sent questions to each freeholder candidate in the run-up to the primary elections. Below are responses from the Middlesex County Democratic Organization candidates. They may have been edited for grammar, style or brevity.

Charlie Tomaro, Edison

Describe your background and why you are qualified for the office.

My experience on the Freeholder Board, on the Edison Township Council and as a local businessman puts me in the unique position of seeing where opportunity lies and the strengths Middlesex County has to offer. This knowledge especially helps me fulfill my current duties as deputy director of the board and chair of the administration committee, which helps set the roadmap for the county’s internal operations and outreach to our municipal and private partners.

What do you consider the most pressing issue facing Middlesex County and how would you address it?

We must continuously invest in our infrastructure and build a robust economic development plan to ensure that residents receive the quality services they need, that we attract visitors to boost our tourism sector and that we retain and attract businesses to ensure that good, high-paying jobs and opportunities are available to our residents.

What else do you hope to accomplish if you are elected?

The Board of Freeholders is committed to boosting our local economy and the economies of our 25 municipalities so that we may provide the best place for people to live, to work or to visit. We do this by investing in our roads, parks, arts, culture, technology and secondary schools. I would prioritize continued investment in our Capital Improvement Master Plan, which encompasses all these areas, and building even stronger partnerships with our municipalities to share services where we can, like we do now with emergency communications, digital tax mapping and open space purchases.

Leslie Koppel, Monroe

Describe your background and why you are qualified for the office.

My tenure as chair of the county’s finance committee, my years as a councilwoman in Monroe Township and my background in nonprofit and business management have given me the tools to assess our overall budget, while being able to pinpoint where efficiencies can be made.

What do you consider the most pressing issue facing Middlesex County and how would you address it?

Middlesex County has held a Triple A Bond rating for the past 16 years. We received word recently that this excellent rating was reaffirmed. Maintaining this rating speaks to our financial strength, which in turn helps us offer a wide array of quality services and gives us the ability to keep down the cost of running county government. We must build on the strong foundation we laid in order to offset cuts in federal and state grant funding to critical programs, such as mental health care, transportation and education.

What else do you hope to accomplish if you are elected?

We must assess every expense, continue to infuse technology into our daily operations to promote efficiency and identify sustainable revenue sources to offset continued federal and state cuts to critical programs.

Shanti Narra, North Brunswick

Describe your background and why you are qualified for the office.

Through my professional and volunteer lives, and my time on the North Brunswick Council, I have built a skill set that more than prepares me to work to protect the well-being of Middlesex County’s residents and helps me make the decisions necessary to do so. I am a supervisor in the Criminal Defense Division with the Legal Aid Society of New York, and am an active member of the North Brunswick Township Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) and trained in search and rescue, fire safety and disaster medical operations.

What do you consider the most pressing issue facing Middlesex County and how would you address it?

The safety of our residents must always be a priority. This becomes increasingly challenging as federal laws change and federal and state funding drops off. We must continue to work with our municipal partners, our law enforcement professionals and our healthcare providers, and increase our volunteer ranks to ensure we are prepared to effectively prevent and respond emergencies of all types in the county.

What else do you hope to accomplish if you are elected?

Because our population continues to grow and our federal and state funding for programs of all kinds continues to decrease, we must collaborate with our municipal partners, our neighboring counties and the other members of the UASI (Urban Area Security Initiative) group to work cohesively to protect our residents. Building and maintaining strong partnerships increases our ability as a whole to safeguard the county. I would prioritize working even more closely with all these groups through inter-local and shared-services agreements, such as our state-of-the-art emergency radio system, our agreements for medical examiner services, public health services and fire inspection services. These allow us to provide excellent services at lower costs.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

New Brunswick

The Jaffe Briefing - June 22, 2018

TRENTON - Well, the state Legislature passed a budget yesterday. But that matters little in the overall drama, as it now goes to Gov. Phil Murphy and his sharp red pen. The governor still remains as odds with his Democratic counterparts who left a meeting with him yesterday claiming no progress. He's "completely dishonest with us," charges Senate President Steve Sweeney.

The Jaffe Briefing - June 21, 2018

TRENTON - No one questions that the state pension system is a mess. And that's why some proposed legislation is getting a critical eye. Politico says the Assembly is set to vote on a bill today that it claims is "expressly written" to fatten the pensions of Assemblyman Ralph Caputo (D-Essex) and state Sen. James Beach (D-Camden) without them having to ...

The Jaffe Briefing - June 20, 2018

STATEWIDE - What? So you are saying the state's pawn shops, second-hand stores and scrap metal yards are mob-infested? How could that possibly be? Well, just ask the scrappy State Commission of Investigation, which issued the 100-page report yesterday detailing how the mob is encouraging drug addicts to steal items to fuel this in-the-dark industry. Not only are these ...

The Jaffe Briefing - June 19, 2018

TRENTON - It is June. That must mean our state lawmakers are yelling at each other over the proposed state budget, which must be adopted by the end of the month or government shuts down. Some media is refraining from coverage of the daily blow-by-blow, as the typical resident just assumes taxes will go up, no matter what. But, here is the latest. Gov. Phil Murphy has his proposed ...

The Jaffe Briefing - June 18, 2018

DOWN THE SHORE - If you see all those mega-mansions on the beach, and admit to being just a wee bit jealous, here's something to quietly smile about: All of those glorious homes will likely be underwater.  NJ Spotlight reports rising sea levels make the New Jersey coast particularly vulnerable, with the Garden State ranking second to Florida with the biggest chronic risk ...

The Jaffe Briefing - June 15, 2018

JERSEY CITY - Should topless women be allowed in the city?  That's the big issue consuming the City Council these days, as members continue to debate 1980s-era obscenity laws. There was supposed to be a vote at the council meeting on Wednesday, but it didn't happen. Before there is a vote, it appears the goal is to wrangle support of all nine members of the City Council. The nagging ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_f442011d67fefc1cb5a2_spb-4937_newsletter_june_23

Sat, June 23, 7:00 PM

TD Bank Ballpark, Bridgewater

Somerset Patriots vs. Southern Maryland Blue ...

Carousel_image_0261cd4c5700fd63e54b_spb-4937_newsletter_june_24

Sun, June 24, 1:00 PM

TD Bank Ballpark, Bridgewater

Somerset Patriots vs. Southern Maryland Blue ...

Carousel_image_ba23f8d0d41677854e89_spb-4937_newsletter_june_26

Tue, June 26, 7:00 PM

TD Bank Ballpark, Bridgewater

Somerset Patriots vs. New Britain Bees Baseball ...

Rutgers-led “Tick Blitz” finds exotic Longhorned Ticks statewide

June 5, 2018

New Brunswick, N.J. - Researchers at  University–New Brunswick’s Rutgers Center for Vector Biology have found exotic longhorned ticks in four New Jersey counties – and confirmed that these northeast Asian ticks have been present in the Garden State since at least 2013.

The new detection of these ticks in Mercer County was made through the first-ever statewide ...

Rutgers football stadium has a new name

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Many still call it Rutgers Stadium.

But for seven years, the university's football stadium has been known as High Point Solutions Stadium, thanks to a $600,000 annual agreement with a Sparta-based company. But, as the company has shifted its marketing, so has the stadium's name.

So, now, Rutgers is officially home to "HighPoint.com Stadium" for the 2018 ...

Composer lyrisicist Sondheim at Rutgers, tells would-be writers ‘it’s hard work’

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Acclaimed Broadway composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim says his work is less about talent and more about the labor and drudgery of “hard work.”

“It’s not about waiting for inspiration. It’s not about talent,” Sondheim said Friday while speaking before an audience at Rutgers University’s Nicholas Music Center.

“You ...

City recognizes New Brunswick ball player inducted into women’s Hall of Fame

June 22, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ  - Chris Dailey grew up in the city, and played basketball for St. Peter's High School and  Rutgers University, and was on the team that won a national AIAW championship her senior year in college.

She became an assistant coach at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., then was an assistant to Rutgers coach Theresa Grentz before becoming an assistant coach on ...

OPINION

New Brunswick journalism teacher offers thanks

June 22, 2018

Dear TAPInto New Brunswick,

As the year comes to a close, I want to offer you my sincere thanks for how you positively impacted my students this year.

In their end of year reflections, the students recounted what it meant for them to get their stories published.  Assignments were no longer something just connected to a grade, it was also connected to their passion.

The positive ...

Promise Culinary School Slates Open Houses June 21 and 22 In New Brunswick with Tours, Tastings, Prizes

June 20, 2018

Promise Culinary School will host open houses for the community and prospective students on Thursday, June 21, from noon to 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., and on Friday, June 22, from noon to 4 p.m. at 211 Livingston Ave., New Brunswick. The events are free and open to the public.

The events will include kitchen tours, demonstrations, tastings, raffles and prizes. Tours and activities will be ...

Ensure Safe Sleep While Traveling with Baby

June 6, 2018

As we approach the summer, there will be plenty of expected travel for families, from visiting grandma at the beach to heading out on a long, well-deserved vacation. 

When staying overnight at a friend’s or family’s place, it is important to maintain the same sleep practices as you do at home. Your baby should be sleeping in a safe, modern crib that meets the latest ...