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Camden County Freeholder-Unexpired Term

The Camden County Board of Chosen Freeholders consists of seven members who are elected to three-year, staggered terms. However, this seat is for the unexpired term of a departing member. The term is two years.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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  • Melinda Kane

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    Kyle Nash

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.

As a gold star mother and former councilwoman from Cherry Hill Township working hand and hand with residents is a foundational reason I want to serve my community in public office. During my tenure on town council in Cherry Hill I worked with civic associations to solve problems, resolve conflicts and build consensus around solutions and enhancements to neighborhoods. Whether it was working to build a pocket playground in a neighborhood or to improve recreational facilities for our kids I always wanted to be in the room and to have disparate voices come together.
Our governing body represents more than 500,000 residents over a diverse landscape from the Pinelands to the city of Camden. The county faces several different challenges from gun crime to the opioid epidemic which have our undivided attention. Two particular top priorities for me will be to ensure we have the best Veteran Affairs Department in the state and to ensure the Camden County Library System is still the place where community comes together. As a gold-star mother I know the services that veterans receive are paramount for their well-being. The work done by the specialized veteran service officers in the county is imperative to the health of the more than 30,000 veterans that live here.
In my limited time on the board I think it is important that we take a look at some of our library branch buildings. Like any set of buildings our libraries we need to ensure we have space that is conducive to our users and like some of our newer locations we expand and enhance our technical offerings and improve our meeting rooms. Also, in light of the opioid epidemic I would like to see more funding for the Office of Mental Health and Addiction in the Health Department so we can fund programs that directly combat behavioral health issues and opioid use disorder. This department should be fully funded by the federal government and the state Department of Health.
The opioid epidemic is the number one issue affecting the residents of Camden County, the state and the nation. We are seeing far too many people succumb to opioid use disorder and lose life, family and dignity. The Board is quickly creating options where none existed in the past, but we still have a long way to go. Another county and statewide issue is stopping the brain drain of students leaving New Jersey to attend college out of state. This has been an ongoing issue for far too long and I have been at the forefront of the conversation to try to stem the tide by not only promoting Camden County College but also in developing and promoting programs that will keep our students in state.
I believe sharing services is the key 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. 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 and will be an advocate for it moving forward.
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During my first term as Camden County Freeholder I plan to draw on my experience with charitable organizations such as Saint Jude's Children's Hospital and Families Behind the Badge Children's Foundation. It is through donating time and money to these noble causes that I can better appreciate the struggles of those in Camden County, and more importantly, how to overcome them.
General oversight of the budgeting process is sorely needed. Budgets are written in code and are nearly indecipherable to the layperson. Money is spent far too frivolously and with little transparency, as well.

Camden County has a fantastic summer concert series that brings world-class talent to its backyard. While these are advertised as free, they certainly are not. They are paid for with our tax dollars. This is not inherently a bad thing, however, it is a missed opportunity. Rather than advertise these as "free", ask attendees to make a small donation to help improve our community and lessen the tax burden elsewhere.
There is an alarming lack of oversight in the Clerk's office as outlined in numerous media outlets such as Politico, and the Inquirer. "Phantom" candidates are allowed to run for office while legitimate candidates are tossed off the ballot indiscriminately. It is evident why an elected official should not be the one judging his oppositions balloting petition, yet in Camden County this is the law of the land.
I consider Camden County's most pressing issue to be the rising toll of drug abuse. New Jersey has had four consecutive years of rising drug-related deaths. The horrifying rise in the use of fentanyl is only partly to blame. Heroin, methamphetamine, prescription pills, and a litany of other frequent offenders have been killing people for decades. It is time to embrace harm-reduction policies that have shown promise across the globe. Cooper Hospitals have been doing a great job with their "Nurse Navigators" who bridge the gap between hospital treatment and recovery direction. What I will do once elected to the Freeholder position is provide broader funding so all our hospitals can provide this same level of treatment.
My opinion of shared services at both the county and municipal level is that consolidation is a necessary evil. I understand and value local identities, however, this is simply a matter of ones and zeros. In Camden County, there are 10 towns with fewer than 3,100 residents. These 10 towns all have many of their own government services like like trash pickup, recycling pickup, a police department, a fire department, a mayor with her or his own salary. The unfortunate reality is that we are already taxed as high, or higher than, any other state. Consolidating township services presents a unique opportunity to inject funds into badly needed areas, such as schools or the state pension system, without increasing taxes.