4 seeking 2 county commissioner seats

PASSAIC COUNTY. Two Republicans are running against the two Democratic incumbents for two seats on the Board of County Commissioners.

| 01 Nov 2023 | 01:36

Republicans Kelley Amico and Andrena Pegel are running against Democrats Orlando Cruz and Bruce James for two seats on the Passaic County Board of County Commissioners in the Nov. 7 election.

James first was elected to the Board of Freeholders in 2005. The board’s name was changed in 2021.

Cruz recently was appointed to fill the seat previously held by Theodore “T.J.” Best.

Democrats have a 6-1 majority on the board.


Why are you running for election to the Board of County Commissioners?

I got involved in local government and politics in my hometown of Little Falls because I did not like how things were being run and wanted to make a difference. The same applies at the county level.

One-party Democrat control of the county for decades is not serving us well.

If elected, I will be a strong pro-taxpayer, pro-parent and pro-law enforcement voice focused on solving problems.

What are the top three things you aim to accomplish if elected?

We need to make sure that taxpayers in every town get their fair share of programs and services from the county for the taxes they pay. That is not happening right now as too much money flows into only a handful of towns.

To that end, I will fully audit the county budget, re-prioritize spending and make sure every town is represented to the fullest.

What makes you the best candidate for this position?

I will bring diverse experience to the table as someone who has worked in the Passaic County Sheriff’s Department and on the Domestic Violence Prevention Committee in my hometown.

I will also be a voice for parents’ rights, which are very clearly under attack by politicians in Trenton.

Background and qualifications

I am currently the New Jersey Republican State Committeewoman for Passaic County since being elected in 2021.

I helped spearhead a successful local campaign in my town of Little Falls, which resulted in unseating two incumbent Democrats.

I am a former employee of the Passaic County Sheriff’s Department, where I worked in the Passaic County Jail.

I am the mother of three children and have been married to my husband, Mark, for 24 years.

I am passionate about helping others. I currently serve on the Domestic Violence Awareness Committee in my town and I help rescue abused animals.


Why are you running for election to the Board of County Commissioners?

I’m running for the Board of County Commissioners because I’m deeply committed to improving our county. I believe my experience and vision can contribute to better governance and the well-being of our residents.

What are the top three things you aim to accomplish if elected?

If elected, my top three priorities:

1) Maintain fiscal responsibility: I’ll work to ensure efficient use of county resources and maintain a balanced budget without raising taxes as we have done for the past five consecutive years.

2) Continued infrastructure development: I’ll focus on continuing to improve our county roads, bridges and essential infrastructure.

3) Continued focus on community health and safety: Continue to advocate and support initiatives to enhance public safety and access to health-care services for all Passaic County residents, including creating a Passaic County satellite office in West Milford, so the residents have direct access to county services.

What makes you the best candidate for this position?

My extensive experience in working with local government, commitment to community/ economic development, and a proven track record of effective leadership make me the best candidate for Passaic County commissioner.

Background and qualifications

My current role as the president of both the Paterson and Wayne Chambers of Commerce has given me a unique perspective on the local business community and its needs. This experience equips me with valuable insights into economic development, job creation and fostering a business-friendly environment in Passaic County.

As county commissioner, I can leverage this knowledge to support our local businesses, stimulate economic growth and create opportunities for residents.


No responses were received from Commissioner Bruce James.


Why are you running for election to the Board of County Commissioners?

I am running to use my experience as a West Milford councilwoman and private-sector businesswoman to make Passaic County more affordable and safer and to deliver effective programs and services to residents with the least possible cost to taxpayers.

The taxpayers of Passaic County deserve a commissioner with strong fiscal beliefs. I will fight to utilize checks and balances, increase transparency, and hold the administrator and department heads accountable for their spending.

What are the top three things you aim to accomplish if elected?

My first two objectives are to keep county property taxes stable and rein in county spending and debt. Government should live within its means just like Passaic County families and businesses do.

I also want to make sure the northern Passaic municipalities get their fair share of investment from county tax dollars.

What makes you the best candidate for this position?

At this time in my life, I want to utilize my passion and business experience to help the people of Passaic County.

I will bring nothing but professionalism, honesty and integrity to the dais as your county commissioner. I believe that we can all work collaboratively with common sense and a responsible fiscal approach to improve life as we know it in Passaic County for years to come.

Background and qualifications

As a business operator and former councilwoman, my records show that I will deliver on my promises and will work hard to advocate for you, the people of Passaic County.