Monmouth Freeholder Candidates Michael Penna & Moira Nelson
Monmouth Freeholder Candidates Michael Penna & Moira Nelson
Monmouth Freeholder Candidates Michael Penna & Moira Nelson

Monmouth County, NJ – Monmouth County Freeholder candidates, Michael Penna and Moira Nelson, are honored to be endorsed by the Monmouth County Education Association (MCEA).  The mission of the Monmouth County Education Association is to advance and protect the rights, benefits, and interests of its members, and to promote a quality system of public education for all students in Monmouth County.

Monmouth County Education Association President, Denise King, said, “On behalf of the more than 13,000 Monmouth County Education Association (MCEA) members, MCEA endorses candidates who will support public schools and public employees.  We work to elect candidates who stand up with public educators and who understand and value the labor movement.  The Monmouth County Freeholders play an essential role in ensuring the budgets for Brookdale Community College, the Monmouth County Vocational School District and our Monmouth-Ocean Education Services Commissions are adequately funded.  It is with these ideals that we proudly endorse Michael Penna and Moira Nelson for Monmouth County Freeholder.  Michael and Moira will stand with us as we continue to advocate for the advancement of public education.”

Penna is an educator teaching Drama and English to at-risk and special needs children at Collier High School in Marlboro, NJ and he is a PhD candidate.  He is dedicated to social justice and equality for all residents, he is a lifelong advocate for the disabled, and is a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community. 

Penna said, “I am extremely proud to be endorsed by the Monmouth County Education Association (MCEA).  It is an honor to receive the backing of my fellow educators and colleagues. I stand with them in ensuring that our students and future leaders are better educated to meet the challenges of the 21st century. Education is the backbone of our community and we must ensure that our county vocational schools and Brookdale Community College are given all of the resources they need to be successful.  When elected to Monmouth County’s Freeholder board, I will do everything in my power to allocate funding to support my fellow educators and the support staff.” 


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Nelson was born & raised in Monmouth County, is a long-time fashion industry executive, and is a former small business owner.  Advocacy is in her DNA.  She is a long-time drug policy reform advocate, she’s fought for racial & social justice for years, and she has mentored women in recovery, underprivileged teens, and young professionals throughout her adult life.

Nelson said, “As a Freeholder, I commit to using my voice to speak truth to power, to fight for justice and equity, to advocate for diversity and inclusion, and to ensure every student in the County feels accepted, has access to the resources they need to thrive, and is equipped to face today’s challenges.  Likewise, I commit to ensuring educators and support staff have access to the resources they need to thrive in their roles.  Our educators and support staff are interfacing with our students on an almost daily basis.  Educators exemplify the role of “Leader.”  They should be honored as such – especially during these incredibly challenging times.  Our teachers have proven – once again – that they can rise to the occasion!”

As they campaign across Monmouth County, Penna and Nelson, are prioritizing local, non-partisan issues that involve education, the environment, access to services, and ensuring transparency and accountability.  A few examples include long-term, regional environmental planning including flood mitigation, shoreline erosion, and storm water strategies for municipalities, addressing concerns with the Monmouth County Reclamation Center and proposing long-term, “green” waste management solutions, allocating funding to support educators and support staff, funding social services appropriately so that no one is left behind, keeping families safe by championing common sense gun safety laws and responsible gun ownership, advocating for county-level policing reforms, and promoting diversity and inclusion in county departments, on boards and commissions.

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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...