Estrada to retire effective Sept. 1 from freeholder board

Angel Estrada

UNION COUNTY, NJ — Union County Freeholder Vice Chairperson Angel Estrada, who in 1999 became the first Latino elected to the board, announced on Aug. 25 his retirement from office, effective Sept. 1.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to have served the residents of Union County, and to have helped our families and all in need,” said Estrada, a native of Cuba who was raised and lives in Elizabeth. “I would also like to thank and commend all those I worked with through the years, including my freeholder colleagues, our county administrative team and staff for their efforts in implementing the vision we had for transforming county government and providing high-quality, essential services for our residents.”

Estrada’s term was scheduled to end Dec. 31, but he is retiring early to spend more time with his family. No replacement has been chosen and his slot will remain unfilled until January.

Freeholder Chairperson Alexander Mirabella, a longtime colleague of Estrada on the board, offered congratulations and well wishes on behalf of county government.

“As the first Latino freeholder, Angel not only worked to bring the voices and concerns of the Hispanic community to our board, but he also championed educational, economic and transportation initiatives that empowered all residents,” Mirabella said. “He was great at analyzing programs, and took the time to ask the hard questions and understand all the intricacies of county government. He will be missed on this board, and we wish him all the best in his retirement.”

Estrada began his service on the freeholder board in January 2000. He served as freeholder chairperson in 2004 and 2008, and as vice chairperson in 2003, 2007 and 2020. He was re-elected to a seventh term in 2017. Estrada has more than 40 years of business and public service experience.

A longtime education advocate, Estrada was elected to the Elizabeth Board of Education in 1994 and re-elected in 1997. He secured state funds for expansion and renovations, and brought college recruiters to Elizabeth’s schools. Long before his election to the school board, Estrada served for many years in parent-teacher organizations, often as president.

As freeholder chairperson in 2008, he presided over the expansion of shared county-local services, Phase III of the Workforce Competitiveness Project, and Go Green, a comprehensive environmental program. He has been instrumental in open space preservation and in having thousands of trees planted throughout Union County as part of the Greening Union County initiative.

Estrada has worked with the private and nonprofit sectors to fund youth recreation and help municipalities improve athletic fields. He also worked with the United Way to help bring the 2-1-1 information line to Union County. During his term as vice chairperson in 2007, Estrada initiated the Code Blue alert in Union County.

Estrada supported the Freeholder Scholars initiative and helped implement the Access 2000 initiative, which provided funding for technology in schools. As chairperson of the Open Space Trust Fund Committee in 2005, Estrada oversaw the distribution of more than $1.4 million for children’s recreation and historic preservation.

Estrada works closely with Latino community organizations to bring their voices and concerns to the freeholder board. He is a member of the board of trustees of Meadowlink, and served as chairperson of the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority from 2017 to 2019. Under Estrada’s leadership, Union County has advanced almost $3 million in safety improvements and nearly $38 million in local roadway and bridge projects.

He served on the Elizabeth Housing Authority for five years in the capacity of member, vice chairperson and chairperson, and is a board member of the Selective Service System. In 2007 and 2008, Estrada was elected vice president of the National Association of Hispanic County Officials.

Estrada earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and Spanish from Kean College — now Kean University — in Union. Estrada and his wife, Teresa, have three children: Liliana, Jorge and Daniel, and three grandchildren, Keith, Alexandra and Julian.

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