MORRIS COUNTY, NJ – Republican incumbent Tayfun Selen and Democratic challenger Cary Amaro participated Oct. 12 in a virtual forum for candidates seeking election to the Morris County Freeholder Board.

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 live streamed 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 2-minute opening statement, beginning with Selen.

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“I came to America in 1996," Selen said. "I didn’t speak English. I started at a gas station in Madison right here in Morris County."

He said he became a citizen 12 years later. "That is one of the proudest moments of my life," Selen said. "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. 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.”

Amaro said the freeholder race is “about putting people over politics.”

“This pandemic has shown us the importance of community," she said. "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."

Amaro said she's "guided organizations through tough situations as a controller" for 14 years.

"I know how important it is to see the entire picture to make sure every dollar counts," she said. "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."

Amaro said she believes she can be a freeholder who "understands the broad picture to contribute sound decisions, leadership for the community, 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 hour long event concluded with closing statements by the candidates.

A video of the entire forum is posted on the Morristown Area LWV’s YouTube channel at .

TAPinto Denville served as the media sponsor of this event.