The group ‘District Bergen’ released the following statement announcing its formation of an initiative to elect freeholders by district instead of at-large:
Today, a group of concerned citizens is launching the “District Bergen” initiative to bring more responsive representation to Bergen County government. The group will be promoting the inclusion of a ballot question in November 2020 to institute a Charter Study Commission in Bergen County, and will advocate for Commissioners who support electing Bergen County Freeholders by districts instead of at-large.
Freeholders are the legislators of Bergen County. Despite approaching a population of one million and larger than at least four states, Bergen County elects all these legislators at-large. Allowing district elections for Freeholder would create more responsive legislators to the needs of particular areas. Given its size, “one size fits all” government is no longer right for Bergen County.
Former Freeholder Chairman John Mitchell will head the group. Chairman Mitchell oversaw stable budgets and responsive government during his tenure. “As a Freeholder, too often I saw that certain areas and constituencies were being overlooked,” said Mitchell “As a resident of Cliffside Park, the interests of my community were often different from Mahwah or Fair Lawn.”
Joining Mitchell will be 2019 Freeholder candidate Katie Cericola of Waldwick. Cericola, 26, represents the next generation of Bergen County voters. “Last year when I was running for Freeholder, I met too many people who did not even know what a Freeholder was,” said Cericola. “Electing freeholders in smaller districts would create representatives who better understand the communities.”
When the idea was last floated in 2013, it enjoyed bipartisan support. According to Bergen Grassroots, Republican and Democratic Freeholders supported the idea as well as some legislators. (http://www.bergengrassroots.org/freeholder-election-proposal-districting/).
“The idea is not a partisan one.” stated Mitchell. “It is about giving everyone the representation they deserve.”
District Bergen will be working to obtain the signatures needed to move this initiative to the ballot in 2020.
For more information visit “District Bergen” on Facebook.