Celebrating Monmouth’s GOP Women during Women’s History Month
This is not your grandfather’s Republican Party…at least not in Monmouth County. For years, women have been making big strides within our party as elected officials, local party leaders and activists. While the number of women in elected office is generally on the decline, Monmouth County Republican women continue to move ahead with the backing of party leadership both at the local, County and State level.
Monmouth’s GOP women have a strong presence in State government, perhaps the strongest of all of the 21 counties. Former Sheriff Kim Guadagno made history when she was elected to serve as the first Lieutenant Governor in 2009. In the legislature, 36% of the female Republican legislators are from Monmouth County. Senator Jennifer Beck (D-12) is one of only three female Republicans in the State Senate. Of the eight Republican women in the State Assembly, three call Monmouth County home. Mary Pat Angelini, Caroline Casagrande and Amy Handlin represent Monmouth County’s 11th, 12th and 13th Districts, respectively.
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At the County level, two of the three Monmouth County constitutional officers are Republican women. County Clerk M. Claire French and Surrogate Rosemarie Peters have served the citizens of Monmouth County for many years. Freeholder Lillian Burry has been a trailblazer for women across our County, having served as Mayor of Colts Neck, Freeholder since 2006 and the first woman in County history to serve as Freeholder Director in 2008. And the Republican controlled Board of Freeholders have appointed women to some of the most important positions in our County – County Counsel, County Administrator and Clerk of the Board.
In our towns, Monmouth Republican women serve as local elected officials, Municipal Chairs and grass roots activists. Mayors Nancy Grbelja (Millstone), Ann Marie Conte (Wall), Janet Tucci (West Long Branch), and many more GOP women serving on the governing bodies of 23 of our 53 municipalities, have demonstrated that Republican women are electable leaders who are making significant contributions to local government. Approximately 30% of our 53 local Municipal Chairs are women, a number that has grown dramatically in the past three years. Women have also taken on leadership roles in volunteer efforts, spending countless hours doing the ground work on campaigns and forcefully advocating on important issues. Their efforts help advance the success of our party at every level of government.
Monmouth County’s Republican Women’s Federation is the one of the strongest and fastest growing county Federations in the State of New Jersey, boasting an increase in membership from 49 members in 2007 to 200 members in 2010. In addition, for the first time in the history of the Monmouth County Affiliated Republican Club, traditionally the male counterpart to the Women’s Federation, a woman was elected Vice President in 2011.
March is National Women’s History month. It is the perfect time to recognize both the Republican women who have accomplished so much, and the County and local party leadership that supports them. Monmouth County’s Republican Party is certainly ahead of the curve with respect to women in government, and it is with great respect and admiration that I congratulate all of the Monmouth GOP women who have stepped up to lead, to inspire, to serve. I am very proud to be a Monmouth County Republican.
Christine Giordano Hanlon, Esq.
Monmouth County Republican State Committeewoman