In 2009, while campaigning for the Township Committee of Springfield, I knocked on the door of one resident who based on my list was a registered Democrat and a senior citizen.
I was greeted by a very nice lady who reminded me of my grandmother. I introduced myself, we talked about the town and I gave her some campaign literature. I asked if she had any questions. She smiled and said, “You know I’m a Democrat?” I replied, “Yes ma’am,” and then she said something I haven’t forgotten since,
“I vote Republican for Freeholder.” I naturally had to ask, “Why?” It was her response that has stuck with me ever since. “I want someone to keep an eye on them.” At the time, I didn’t fully understand the complexities of Union County government or the Democrat machine that has reigned over us for 20 years as well as I do now.
This senior citizen, who was a lifelong Democrat, knew that one party rule doesn't make for healthy government. It leads to the abuse of authority and violates the public trust. She wanted someone from the Republican Party to serve on the Board of Chosen Freeholders just, “to keep an eye on them” if nothing else.
This still holds true today. I recently visited my mother-in-law who lives in Clark, NJ. She had some friends over that live in her building and they are all lifelong Democrats that have lived in Union County. For the same reason as the one lady I met in 2009, they vote Republican and want someone to keep an eye on them as well.
The last Republican to sit on the Board of Chosen Freeholders was nearly 20 years ago and they were last elected 22 years ago. So for the last 20 years there has been no one to keep an eye on them from the inside. Union County is governed by one party solely responsible for raising your taxes over 75 percent since 1998.
Putting party affiliations aside. Union County voters should take a hard look at the Freeholders. Even if one Republican wins a seat, the Democrats will still maintain control, but at least you have someone to keep an eye on them for you.