We are all aware of the importance of the 2014 Bergen County Freeholder race for Republicans, Save Jerseyans, and I implore everyone to take time to get to know all the Republican Candidates seeking your vote.
I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Bergen County Freeholder Candidate and current Ridgewood Councilwoman, Bernadette Walsh. We spoke about a wide array of issues facing Bergen County, her vision for Bergen County, and her experiences serving as a Councilwoman in Ridgewood.
We initially spoke of Councilwoman Walsh’s vision for Bergen County. “My specific vision for residents of Bergen County is to feel a level of comfort living here,,” said Walsh.
As a member of the governing body in Ridgewood, Walsh learned first hand just how much of your tax bill is paid over to the County Government. “People should feel at ease knowing that I will work hard to make sure that [residents] can live here comfortably, remain employed here, and that I will do what is necessary make it better to have a business here.”
Indeed, her profession working within corporate relocation services places her in a unique position to understand the challenges facing people and businesses as they move into Bergen County. “Employment is my profession,” Walsh shared. “My strengths lie in my ability to connect with Corporations in the region and tie that into how Bergen County can be an alluring place to set up their business. We currently have vacant office space throughout the County. Matching the needs of corporations with that space, bringing much needed jobs to the region and being a liaison to the municipalities is my vision as a Freeholder.”
I also brought up the topic of Bergen County College (BCC) to Councilwoman Walsh, and the importance of such a resource to families and students facing exponentially increasing tuition costs every year. “I taught Continuing Education Courses at Bergen Community College from 1991 to 1999,” she added. “One of my most memorable experiences was when an adult student, just getting into the Real Estate Appraisal field, told me that I was probably the most encouraging teacher he had ever had and that I explained things to the students in layman’s terms. Reinventing oneself in an ever changing workforce is a daunting experience. Bergen Community College is a tremendous resource to both young and older students alike. “
Walsh’s time as Ridgewood councilwoman will help define her countywide campaign. I asked what her greatest achievements to date were as a member of the governing body. In addition to helping the Ridgewood Council balance their budget, the Councilwoman also recently championed the formation of a Shade Tree Commission in Ridgewood, which is the first time that Shade Tree has been present in Ridgewood since the 1930’s. “To form the commission has been amazing,” Walsh opined. “Ridgewood had lost over 500 trees in recent storms and there are grants monies available to help replenish the lost trees. However, you need a Shade Tree Commission to be eligible for the grants.”
On the re-emerging issue of the changing Bergen County pay-to-play laws, Walsh presents a conservative take on the topics at the center of the controversy. The current councilwoman won her last election on a mere $500 budget. “Voters want to hear from the candidates and there’s no reason candidates can’t campaign on the previous limits.”
I asked specifically what people can expect of Councilwoman Walsh should she be elected as freeholder. “I don’t take a job unless I am confident that I can perform,” said Walsh. “Governing is a business and needs to be treated like one. Bergen County Residents should be confident in knowing that I will always have a professional demeanor, an exemplary attendance to meetings and an overall respectful and honest character.”
Constituents should know that if they wish learn more about the Councilwoman or donate their time and/or services to her Freeholder campaign, they can contact her at Walsh4Bergen@Gmail.com, follow her at on Twitter at @Coghlanwalsh, or visit the campaign website at www.Walsh4Bergen.com. Additionally, constituents should know that the Councilwoman’s full name, Bernadette Coghlan-Walsh, will appear on the Freeholder ballots.