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VOTE411 Voter Guide

Mercer County Executive

The County Executive is elected at-large to a four year term and is the chief officer of the county's executive branch with a salary of $170,719.The Executive oversees the administration of county government, proposes the annual budget, and works in conjunction with the Board of Chosen Freeholders, which acts in a legislative roleMercer is one of the five of 21 counties in New Jersey with a popularly-elected county executive.

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    Brian Hughes
    (Dem)

  • Lishian "Lisa" Wu
    (Rep)

Biographical Information

What do you consider the most pressing challenges facing Mercer County? How will you address them?

What are your five top priorities for the budget you will propose for the coming year? Why? Do you see a need to ensure that municipalities benefit proportionally?

For years Mercer County has used Sequoia voting machines. For years Princeton University scholars have advocated purchasing more secure machines with a paper trail. What criteria will you use to assess the adequacy of voting machines when recommending the coming purchase?

In your assessment, are Mercer County taxpayers satisfied with the level of specificity provided by the County about how their tax dollars are spent? If not, how should this issue be addressed?

Most counties in New Jersey televise their meetings and post online the complete minutes, including a description of legislation and a record of each member's vote. Do you see a need for Mercer County to do the same? Why or why not?

The most pressing challenge facing Mercer County is responding to the demands for more county services by taxpayers, while seeking to limit the growth of county taxes. As County Executive, I have successfully sought to strike a balance between service demands and taxation. Mercer County has effectively responded to the various needs of taxpayers by maintaining our infrastructure, parks, open space, libraries and services to our most vulnerable citizens. In a new term, my administration will expand further upon its efforts to attract more private sector business development to Mercer County, which will expand our county tax base, bring more needed services to the region, and provide employment opportunities to our ever-growing workforce. As county executive, I will continue to craft a responsible county budget, which will seek to control the cost of operating county government, while insuring essential services to our taxpayers. In conjunction with the Mercer County Board of Chosen Freeholders, I will continue to work to ensure that we provide good services to the people of Mercer County within the boundaries of responsible spending.
My five top priorities for the coming year are: a) provide more active recreation for families; b) enhance and expand services for veterans; c) protect the integrity of the election process, via the purchase of state of the art voting machines (with a verified paper trail) and implementing the appropriate technological safeguards against nefarious efforts; d) work to insure a complete count in Mercer County in the 2020 Census; e) provide greater focus on expanding business development and employment creation in Mercer County. The aforementioned priorities serve as a recognition of the types of services that Mercer County citizens continue to request. My administration has addressed some of these issues via past initiatives, however, because the needs are significant and ever changing, additional focus is warranted. As for municipal benefit proportionality, I acknowledge that the respective towns of Mercer County have needs for services and contribute to the county equalization tax system at varying levels. As county executive, I am required to deliver county services to all of the people of Mercer County, by utilizing county taxes and providing myriad county services as fairly, efficiently and effectively as possible. As it relates to property tax assessments, taxpayers can challenge their tax bill by appealing to and appearing before the Mercer County Board of Taxation.
Voting security and accurate results are critical to ensuring the continued trust the residents of our country have with our government. My administration is currently reviewing some the various proposals from manufacturers of voting machines. These firms have been certified by the State of New Jersey, and the respective counties contracting with said firms may qualify for modest underwriting of the purchase of new voting machines. I have made it clear that Mercer County will only purchase new voting machines that feature a verified paper trail and state of the art technology which avert any and all types of tampering.
I believe that the taxpayers of Mercer County have many opportunities to assess and determine how their tax dollars are spent. I publicly present my budget each year before the Mercer County Board of Chosen Freeholders. The county budget is subject to a variety of public meetings conducted by the Board to question and consider my proposed spending plan for the year. All meeting notices are advertised with the local media outlets. The budget document is posted on the county website, and copies of same are available through my office. The adoption of the county budget takes place in a public meeting of the Board of Chosen Freeholders, which is also advertised in the press.
Transparency and openness has been a priority of my administration. Democracy works best with a fully informed public. That is why we have worked cooperatively with the Mercer residents and all levels of county government to ensure that the public is informed and knows that their county government is listening to them. The televising of public meetings (Freeholder Board) is a decision which rests with the Mercer County Board of Chosen Freeholders. As county executive, I attend the Freeholder Board meetings when invited, or in response to my request to address the body.
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