Carter takes the reigns as freeholder chairwoman

Photo Courtesy of Jim Lowney/County of UnionUnion County Freeholder Linda Carter is sworn in as the 2013 Chairman of the Freeholder Board by Plainfield Municipal Judge Joan Robinson Gross on Jan. 6 at the Union County Courthouse in Elizabeth. Holding the Bible is the Carter’s mother, Adele Carter.
Photo Courtesy of Jim Lowney/County of Union
Union County Freeholder Linda Carter is sworn in as the 2013 Chairman of the Freeholder Board by Plainfield Municipal Judge Joan Robinson Gross on Jan. 6 at the Union County Courthouse in Elizabeth. Holding the Bible is the Carter’s mother, Adele Carter.

Linda Carter became the first African-American woman chairman of the Union County Freeholder Board Sunday, announcing her focus this year will be helping families and empowering women.

Highlighting a series of five initiatives designed to jump start economic growth and help businesses, provide job training, improve public safety, encourage green practices and assist women, Carter, a resident of Plainfield, said she was ready for the challenge ahead.

“As Shirley Chisholm, the first African-American woman to serve in the United States Congress once said, ‘service is the rent we pay for the privilege of living on this earth,’” Carter said.

Carter said it was important that the county continue to address public safety issues and emergency management concerns, but there were also other matters of importance that had to be addressed, including the budget.

The chairman called upon the policy committee to conduct an “an exhaustive review of all workforce and operational policies to ensure county government operates in the most efficient and economic manner possible.”

Carter also stressed several other initiatives, including a gun buy back program she is advocating. The freeholder chairman said that while this type of program is not a cure-all, she believed that as leaders the freeholders owe it to residents to pursue all strategies available.

“This includes supporting Assemblyman Cryan’s statewide legislation to limit the capacity of certain gun magazines in New Jersey,” she added.

Another initiative close to Carter’s heart is establishing a Union County Mayor’s Emergency Management group. Although this group first took root during super storm Sandy, Carter would like to see some of the recommendations discussed at the last meeting implemented this year to improve emergency response.

When it comes to job training and business assistance, Carter would like to put in place “Union County Choices,” a targeted jobs training program involving Union County College. Designed to provide a range of services targeted at middle skills and sector training, the chairwoman said these courses would give residents choices focused on the county’s priority economic development sectors.

Ensuring the Union County Means Business program continues was another priority, Carter said. She would like to host four additional forums, with one specifically focusing on women in business.

Finally, Carter intends to encourage businesses to “go green to save green.”

She has several green initiatives, including exploring through the Union County Improvement Authority the Community Energy Aggregation program designed to leverage the purchasing power of residents, businesses and governments to purchase low-cost electricity.

If implemented, Carter said, residents could save as much as 15 percent on electric bills.