Three “fiscally conservative” Republicans are running in this year’s primary election for two county freeholder positions and the county surrogate.
“It’s very easy to spend other people’s money. Stopping non-essential spending and over spending, those are really the main issues that we want to tackle,” said Michelle Joustra. “We want to dissect what’s being spent. All of our municipalities are being charged way too much compared to the services we are receiving. It’s not acceptable.”
Joustra is running with Donna Anderson and Michael McLaughlin under the Republicans for a Better Passaic County slogan. Mc is running for surrogate. The surrogate is a constitutional officer. He or she appoints guardians to minors, supervise adoptions, and supervises the execution of wills. The trio is running on the GOP Strong’s ticket.
Joustra owns a restaurant in her hometown of Hawthorne. She founded the Hawthorne Tea Party Initiative. She wants to start more “green friendly” initiatives in the county, including putting wind turbines on Garrett Mountain.
“As a small business owner, it’s becoming more difficult to keep the doors open. “If I don’t have it, I don’t spend it,” Joustra said. “No one is doing anything to help us. People are being run out of their homes and their businesses because the taxes are so high.”
Anderson has served on the Ringwood Council since 2006. She was deputy mayor in 2008 and 2009. Anderson, a branch officer administrator for Edward Jones, has lived in Ringwood her entire life. Anderson wants more transparency form the freeholder board.
“The more that’s done and decided in open session, and the less in open session, the better,” Anderson said.
Joustra wants more fiscal transparency and more “constantly good government.”
“We only ever hear how much a particular project costs at the beginning. The change orders are never made public,” Joustra said. “No one ever talks about the finished product. How much did it really cost? You have to constantly account for every penny you spend.”
Anderson wants to systematically review the needs that each municipality has and prioritize those needs. Creating a balanced budget is a priority for candidates. Upon taking office, Joustra wants every municipality audited immediately.
“I want to see the records, where the money is, how it gets spent, and how much bonded debt they have,” Joustra said.
McLaughlin is detective with the investigations bureau of the Clifton Police Department. He has been a police officer for 25 years.
If elected, McLaughlin would institute a 30- or 60-review of the office in an attempt to save taxpayers money. He would also want to regularly visit municipalities so residents, particularly senior citizens, would not have to travel to Paterson.
“My qualities of integrity, report writing, and attention to detail make me an ideal candidate,” McLauglin said. “Being a public servant for more than half of my life, I don’t feel like I’m done yet.”
Anderson said, if elected, the candidates would work for the people.
“We’re not attorneys. We’re not looking for a retainer,” Anderson said. “We’re not looking to over analyze and over compromise the county government.”
Editor's Note: Do you agree with the candidates? What do you think of their plan and initiatives? Let us know in the comment box below.