Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

A Meeting of Minds at Freeholder Forum

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

A Meeting of Minds at Freeholder Forum

Article excerpt

TETERBORO -- Seven of eight candidates vying for three seats on the Bergen County Board of Chosen Freeholders answered moderator and audience questions for nearly two hours Thursday, agreeing on many of the issues presented.

Three Republicans, three Democrats and one Libertarian candidate responded to topics that varied from tax increases and veterans' services to heroin abuse treatment, pipelines and the evergreen Bergen County issue: traffic congestion.

Nearly all candidates agreed on continued funding for Bergen Community College, a need for a veterans-services facility at Bergen Regional Medical Center, support for public-private partnerships such as a recent addition of a Dinosaurs interactive exhibit at Overpeck Park, and a new contract with BRMC that would increase oversight and accountability to the entity running the facility.

Some verbal sparring livened the debate when Democrats criticized cuts to Bergen Community College spending and veterans' services by Freeholder Maura DeNicola and former Freeholder John Driscoll under past administrations.

Professed "radical" Peter Rohrman, the Libertarian, offered a few unorthodox ideas that ran counter to the shared statements of the opposing party candidates. Rohrman said he would completely defund the community college, not pay to market or promote the county and sell BRMC.

Rohrman's running mate, Demosthenes Backos, did not participate in the debate. A reason was not provided.

Democratic incumbent Thomas Sullivan is seeking his first full three-year term after having been appointed to fill the seat of James Tedesco, who left the post to take over as county executive in 2015.

Fellow incumbent DeNicola is running for a third term as freeholder. She is the lone Republican in county government seeking office. The seven-member Freeholder Board currently has a 5-2 Democrat majority. Republican Freeholder John Felice did not seek reelection, opening up his seat this November. …

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