Voters make the case for Freeholder Districts in Union County

downloadIf anything came out of the Republican loss for the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders, it was the need for freeholder districts.

During the freeholder debates, hosted by the Union County League of Women Voters in Cranford on Oct. 15, when challenged by the idea of Freeholder Districts, Freeholder Chairwomen Linda Carter responded on the defensive, pointing out that the freeholders “represent all citizens in the county.” If this is the case, then why did 13 of 21 municipalities vote overwhelmingly for the Republican candidates? Looking at the voting map, with the exception of Plainfield, Union County is divided between East vs. West, the cities vs the burbs.

In Union County, all 10 Union County municipalities in LD 21 voted for Republican freeholder candidates. It is interesting to note that locally controlled Democrat towns of Springfield and Cranford were won by the Republican freeholder candidates. Freeholder Kowalski, a resident of Cranford, lost her hometown by nearly a 1000 votes again along with her running mates who lost by over a 1000 votes.

In LD 20, strictly comprised of Elizabeth, Union, Hillside and Roselle, it was a clear down the ticket vote for Democrats with approximately 65 to 85% in their favor.

However, in LD 22 a different picture emerges with a split 3 to 3 and 1 draw for freeholder. Scotch Plains, Fanwood, and Clark voted for the Republicans and Linden, Rahway and Plainfield voted for the Democrats with Winfield for a draw. Over 85% of Plainfield voted for the Democrat candidates. It is also interesting to note that both Scotch Plains and Fanwood voted for Republican freeholder candidates but are locally Democrat controlled towns.

The current composition of the board of freeholders will remain the same.
LD 22: Carter from Plainfield, Hudak from Linden, Mirabella from Fanwood, & Jalloh from Roselle.
LD 20: Granados and Estrada from Elizabeth and Wright from Union.
LD 21:Bergen from Springfield and Kowlaski from Cranford.

Final analysis for Union County; Plainfield & Elizabeth will decide the final outcome of the composition of Board of Freeholders every year unless we change the structure of Union County government from at-large representation to direct representation with Freehold Districts. The size of Union County at over a half a million residents warrants direct representation.

Marc Krauss
For A Better Union County

Editor’s Note — Krauss was a freeholder candidate in last week’s election.