UNION COUNTY–Citing a desire to spend more time with her family, Freeholder Deborah P. Scanlon announced today she will retire at the end of the year, ending her fifth term in office.
Scanlon, a resident of the Township of Union who is a mother of three with nine grandchildren, distinguished her career as a freeholder by serving as a steady advocate for women, children, and families in need. A two-time survivor of cancer, she has championed cancer-prevention programs including mammography awareness for young and underprivileged women. She served as a liaison to Runnells Hospital, and worked to expand one of the county’s most popular family services, the Union County Child Safety Seat program, which has provided more than 50,000 inspections.
“It has been a privilege serving the people of Union County for 15 years and providing a voice for the public in County government,” Scanlon said in a press release issued by the Union County Democratic Committee. “I would also like to thank my colleagues on the Board, and our Democratic Chairwoman for their support. I will also greatly miss our family of county government employees, our county directors, and all the extraordinary people at the different levels of government and private sector I’ve had the pleasure of working with through my years as an elected official. It has been a fantastic experience.”
Freeholder Chairman Alexander Mirabella, who was originally elected with Scanlon in 1997 to the Freeholder Board and have run together successfully ever since, said he would miss Scanlon.
“I was truly blessed to have someone as honorable and decent as Debbie is to run for public office with,” said Mirabella. “Debbie is a person with a great heart and charm who has devoted her time on the board to helping women, children and families. She was also someone who was not afraid to take on the challenges of the leadership of this board. She did so with class and dignity. I will miss her dearly, and on behalf of the Freeholder Board, I wish her well in her retirement from public life.”
Union County Democratic Committee Chairman Charlotte DeFilippo echoed Mirabella’s sentiments.
“Debbie was a champion for those who most needed a voice in county government,” said DeFilippo, herself a former Union County Freeholder. “She grew into a leadership position on the Board, and successfully helped guide county government through some tough transitional periods post 9-11 and the recent global recession.”
Scanlon served two times as chairman of the Board of Freeholders in 2003 and 2011, implementing a wide range of initiatives. In 2003, she led the creation of the Committee on Homeland Security, a countywide program. As chairman in 2011, Scanlon initiated the production of a free educational DVD on cyber safety and cyberbullying in partnership with the prosecutor’s office.
Also as Chairman in 2011, she was instrumental in promoting science based nutritional guidelines designed to help families fight childhood obesity and improve overall health. Through her career, she also served several times as the chair of the Open Space Trust Fund, which has saved well over 300 acres of green space from development throughout Union County, renovated existing and built new playing fields and playgrounds, and provided equipment and recreational assistance for children.
Workforce development has been another hallmark of her tenure as freeholder, and she has worked with numerous committees, advisory boards and associations to help connect jobseekers with Union County businesses.
Since 2006, Scanlon has served on the Union County Shade Tree committee. The Bureau of Shade Tree and Conservation offers free trees to schools and sponsors the “Young Writers of Union County” poetry contest for sixth, seventh and eighth grade students.
Scanlon is a former member of the Union Township Board of Education, where she served as Finance Chair, liaison to the Union County School Boards Association and representative to the Union Township committee.
She was born and raised in Summit and moved to Union in 1983. She is married to Patrick Scanlon, former Mayor of Union and former member of the Union Township Committee. She and Patrick reside in Union Township. They have three children: Tammie, Lisa and Patrick IV, and nine grandchildren.
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