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VOTE411 Voter Guide

Camden County Freeholder {_getChooseLabel(this.selections.length)}

The Camden County Board of Chosen Freeholders consists of seven members who are elected to three-year, staggered terms. In 2019, two members will be elected.The Freeholders have executive and legislative responsibilities governing the County. One of the largest responsibilities of the Freeholders is the adoption of the annual fiscal budget for all County agencies and services, and Camden County’s 37 municipalities. Individual Freeholders are appointed as liaisons to county departments and oversee areas such as law enforcement, education, transportation/roads, waste management, etc.

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  • Claire Gustafson
    (Rep)

  • Edward T. Mc Donnell
    (Dem)

  • Randall J. Mc Ginnis Jr.
    (Dem)

  • Candidate picture

    Nicole Nance
    (Rep)

  • Steven Panarello
    (Dem)

  • Carmen G. Rodriguez
    (Dem)

  • Amanda Semple
    (Dem)

  • Jason A. Witte
    (Dem)

Biographical Information

If serving as a Freeholder now, describe your experience working with community organizations and other areas of local government. If this would be your first time serving, discuss your prior experience working with civic, community, or governmental organizations.

What do you consider the top priority(ies) in the next County budget and how will you minimize impact on taxpayers? Please discuss no more than three priorities.

Is there any specific department/agency you consider particularly in need of attention (oversight, auditing, and/or additional funding) and if so, why?

What do you consider the most important issue(s) facing Camden County today and how would you address the issue(s) as a Freeholder? Please discuss no more than three issues. This question may be answered in video format. If you choose to respond with a YouTube video, limit your video to approximately 2 minutes.

What is your opinion of shared services both at the county and municipal level? Shared services describes the practice of centralizing certain business or administrative functions that were once performed in separate locations, typically to save costs.

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Finding common space, compromising and listening are at the core of my work on the Freeholder Board. The bedrock of my tenure as an elected official has been building consensus and having hard conversations to get things done. It’s critical to meet with residents, stakeholders and institutions to ensure we are building our community the right way and taking on projects that will make a positive impact throughout our neighborhoods for the collective good. As a liaison to Camden County College, and a former teacher and educational administrator, I have worked with students and residents to ensure we have an institution of higher education that works for us. Furthermore, I work with our special needs population to create programming and events
Public safety, the opioid crisis and maintaining our roadways and bridges are our top priorities. The Freeholder Board is on one of the most aggressive road maintenance programs in the 175-year history of the county. No matter where you live throughout our 228-square miles we are updating roadways, stormwater drainage systems and ensuring none of our 61-major bridges are structurally compromised. These investments are imperative to keep motorists safe and keep commerce flowing through our 1,200 lane miles of road. Public safety has been at the forefront with what we have done for the last six years with the Camden County Police Department. We have successfully dropped violent crime and homicides in Camden City to a historic low last 50yrs.
Dedicate more funding to both the Office of Mental Health and Addiction and for the state to allocate more funding for community colleges. The Office of Mental Health and Addiction is a new division inside the county to meet the opioid crisis head-on and provide proper resources and services in one place for residents and family members suffering. Camden County College and the education that is provided for either traditional students, adults going back to school or individuals transitioning to a new career is the nerve center of the region. CCC has always been evolving as the needs of our community changes and the needs of our workforce are altered by the marketplace. I believe education is the greatest equalizer to poverty.
The county, like the rest of the state and nation, is suffering under the plague of the opioid crisis. The Freeholder Board has instituted more actions, including litigation against pharmaceutical companies, principles and distributors of opioids, than any other government agency in the nation. We believe corporations that flooded the market with these highly addictive pills bear the responsibility. The scourge of gun violence is another growing health crisis throughout the nation. Speaking with our law enforcement officials firearms are ending up in the hands of kids and according to the CDC guns are now the 3rd leading cause of death among children in our nation. In addition, more than 30,000 people died in the US last year from guns.
I believe sharing services is important to making Camden County and New Jersey a more affordable place to live. Ultimately, regionalizing services like our 911 communications center makes the most sense to streamline government operations and reduce the significant redundancies that currently exist under the home rule charter. We continue to sign and renew a variety of shared services agreement whether it is for energy purchases, office supplies or professional services with towns and agencies throughout the county. The key to lowering costs to government is to leverage economies of scale, eliminate bureaucracy and reduce redundancies between municipalities to make government more effective and efficient. I’m proponent of sharing services.
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Nicole Alisha Nance, BBA is a licensed minister at GateKeepers Ministries International under the direction of its founders Dr. James & Pastor Deana Treadwell. Professionally, Nicole serves as the Founders' Executive Administrator and helps to run the day to day operations of GateKeepers Ministries International. Nicole sits on the GateKeepers Supreme Board of Stewards & oversees the financial department. In 2002, she completed a 10 month course sponsored by the Camden Empowerment Zone on how to empower your community. From 2006 to 2015, she volunteered with the Camden City Mayors Youth Council & served as the Co-Chair for the last 2 years of its existence. Nicole is an active member of the Camden City District Council Collaborative Board.
1. Potholes 2. Property Taxes 3. Pension Funds Accountability I would like to minimize the impact on taxpayers by finding a way to see where every dollar is going. Are the funds that are available within the budget necessary to go to the areas that they are going. Can project dollars be minimized with projects still getting excellent quality. Can more dollars within the existing budget go to filling the potholes or repaving more roads. Why do pension dollars keep getting touched?
Accounting/Financial Department
Financial Accountability 1. Potholes 2. Property Taxes 3. Pension Funds Accountability I would like to minimize the impact on taxpayers by finding a way to see where every dollar is going. Are the funds that are available within the budget necessary to go to the areas that they are going. Can project dollars be minimized with projects still getting excellent quality. Can more dollars within the existing budget go to filling the potholes or repaving more roads. Why do pension dollars keep getting touched?
I think it depends on the communities and neighborhoods. Are 2 communities or neighborhoods behaving like one community? If shared services will save costs without the community losing out on ANY services, then I’m okay with it BUT if not, then don’t do it.
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I believe community engagement and dialogue is a critical aspect of public office. The bedrock of my tenure as an elected official has been building consensus and having the hard conversations to get things done. It’s critical to meet with residents, stakeholders and institutions to ensure we are building our community the right way and taking on projects that will make a positive impact throughout our neighborhoods for the collective good. Developing initiatives like our statewide model for the homeless to work program, called Bridge to Work, which gets people off the street and into a stable environment with wrap around services can’t be done without input of the public and professionals. Furthermore, meaningful progressive policies.
We have a variety of priorities in front of us as a regional governing body. Public safety, the opioid crisis and roadways are our top priorities right now. Public safety has been at the forefront with what we have done for the last six years with the Camden County Police Department. The board has successfully dropped violent crime and homicides in Camden City and county to a historic low not seen in 50-years. That said, we have seen crime drop throughout the county and have put more police on the streets creating safer, stable neighborhoods.
In general, I think we can always do more with our Health Department, whether it’s the division of mental health and addiction or the division of weights and measures that protects consumers against businesses looking to take advantage of them. The department takes on some of the most important practices of our government structure, whether it is ensuring any facility serving food and beverages are doing so in a clean environment or working on solving homelessness. In short, the work is not glamorous, but it is pivotal for us to protect the health and welfare of the residents of Camden County. I believe several of these divisions should be eligible for more funding for their missions by the federal government.
The county is suffering under the scourge of the opioid epidemic. I believe we have done more to combat this issue than any other governmental agency in the US. This crisis has impacted, directly or indirectly, every person in the state and we have produced several programs to treat, educate, stabilize and comfort those affected. We started a medically assisted treatment (MAT) program in our county jail. This initiative was held up as a national model for jails and prisons throughout the country and has yielded good results. I believe we can do more to solve homelessness providing more housing options for housing first policies and more social workers into the field alongside first responders. Promote common sense firearm restrictions.
I believe sharing services is important to making Camden County and New Jersey a more affordable place to live. Ultimately, regionalizing services like our 911 communications center makes the most sense to streamline government operations and reduce the significant redundancies that currently exist under the home rule charter. We continue to sign and renew a variety of shared services agreement whether it is for energy purchases, office supplies or professional services with towns and agencies throughout the county. The key to lowering costs to government is to leverage economies of scale, eliminate bureaucracy and reduce redundancies between municipalities to make government more effective and efficient. I’m proponent of sharing services.
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