By Marc A. Krauss, candidate for Freeholder and Major, U.S Army Retired
In 2009 while campaigning for the Township Committee of Springfield I knocked on the door of one resident on Shunpike Ave. I knew based on my list that she was a registered Democrat and a senior citizen. I knocked on the door and 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 as well as I do now. This senior citizen, who is 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.
The last Republican to sit was on the Board of Chosen Freeholders was 15 years ago and they were last elected 18 years ago. So for the last 15 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% since 1998
In 2009, Jerry Fernandez and I won both seats on the Township Committee in Springfield the same year Governor Christie won. During two of the three years Jerry and I held the majority along with former Mayor and Army Veteran Ziad Shehady. As a Committeeman, I chaired numerous sub-committees gaining invaluable insight into finance, public safety, public works and administration of local government for a township of 15,000 residents. We only held the majority in 2010 and 2012; however, we were able to save over a $1M a year by switching to the state health care plan for township employees.
We restructured the Police and Fire Departments to run more effectively and efficiently and promoted qualified and competent leaders despite interference from the former Union County Prosecutor, Ted Romankow. Started and supported the Business Improvement District that which is now an independent organization comprised of business owners, landlords and residents with real goals of improving Springfield’s downtown and other business areas. The BID ordinance sat dormant for 20 years until we dusted it off and breathed life into it again. Supported and bonded the new turf field in front of Jonathan Dayton High School which is going to become the centerpiece of Springfield to rally around and support our local high school teams and my personal favorite a new enclosed toddler park on Wabeno Avenue and many more initiatives. The bottom line is that we made tough decisions and took action for the greater good of Springfield.
As a retired Army Officer with over 21 years of honorable active duty military service and two tours in Iraq, I know and understand what mission accomplishment is and how to achieve it. I still live by the Army values of Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage (LeaDeRSHIP). They are not mutually exclusive to the Army and I will apply them when elected to the Board of Chosen Freeholders. I served our country, I served my community and now I want serve you as a member of the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders. It is time to downsize and re-evaluate our County Government by lowering taxes and while maintaining essential services.
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