To the Editor,

As a former public officeholder, I often find myself engaged in conversation with friends, colleagues and even casual acquaintances about the state of local, state and national politics.  We wring our hands over rising taxes and the cost of living, bemoan the dearth of bold ideas to fix our economy and fret over the lack of opportunities for our children.  We complain about the lack of civil discourse at the state and national level, and invariably I am asked “What can I do?”  “Get involved, run for office,” I’ll reply urging them to put their hat in the ring.   Running for office is hard, however, and it’s costly. Public service takes passion, commitment and bold ideas.  We are fortunate to have two excellent candidates for the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders who fit this bill, Michael Penna and Moira Nelson.

I am so pleased that my friend and colleague, Michael Penna, has taken on this challenge to serve our community and is running for Monmouth County Freeholder.  Michael Penna is an educator for at -risk students who has dedicated his life to preparing all students for the challenges of the 21st Century. He has bold ideas to invest in and strengthen the Community College system in our county to better serve all students. When I first met Michael, I was impressed by his vast and deep understanding of social issues that impact our community, his ability to communicate his ideas and his power to build consensus to effectuate change.   Over the years, my admiration for him and his innate decency has only deepened.  He rose to the challenge to get involved, run for office and be the change we want to see. He will work tirelessly as a Freeholder for all our children to insure they have access to quality education and opportunity.

Moira Nelson, a drug policy reform advocate, has been battling at the frontlines of the opioid crisis to help curb this devastating public health emergency.  She answered the call to service when she saw that patients seeking treatment lacked access to the resources they desperately need.  As a Freeholder she will continue to advocate tirelessly for the healthcare needs of all our communities. 

Penna and Nelson are not “politicians.”  They are “public servants” in the true sense of the word.  A teacher and a healthcare advocate who serve their communities and seek to spread their positive impact by serving on the Board of Chosen Freeholders.  I don’t think we could choose a better team.  Please join me in supporting Michael Penna and Moira Nelson for Freeholder this November.



Ellen Karcher

Morganville, NJ

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Allan Dean

Allan Dean is editor, publisher, and founder of the Atlantic Highlands Herald. Published since 1999 and selected in 2000 by the Borough of Atlantic Highlands as one of their official newspapers, making...