MORRIS COUNTY — Freeholder candidate Heather Darling hosted her first fundraiser at Zeris Inn, Mountain Lakes on Monday, April 17.
The well attended function included a mix of local Republican Party leadership and members of the community supporting Darling. Darling’s message was that unchecked spending, the current practice of rewarding special interests and lack of sustainable ratables are the issues plaguing Morris County. Darling, who operates a law firm she built herself and an unrelated business she took over from her father, said she knows about building and operating a business on a shoestring budget, building relationships with customers, and hiring and managing employees who count on their jobs to provide food and shelter for their families. Darling said that her daily routine is analyzing information and making critical decisions which affect her business, her employees and her client’s futures.
Heather Darling referenced the outflow of businesses from Morris County beginning in the 1990’s and the need to utilize Morris County’s transportation system and natural resources to attract businesses that promote a healthier lifestyle for their employees including outdoor recreation. Darling spoke of Economic Development Committee summits wherein she noticed apparent and untapped opportunities for mutual economic growth among certain towns in Morris County with the existing infrastructure to support such growth. Darling raised the idea of creating alliances between businesses and the County College of Morris to develop a labor pool prepared to fill managerial and professional job openings as well as similar alliances between businesses and Morris County Vo-Tech to prepare students for jobs. She contrasted training students for jobs in a free enterprise system with the current Freeholder Board’s plan to limit bidding to union shops with apprenticeship programs which she believes stem from promises by members of the Board to organized labor in exchange for campaign funding.
Darling went on to address spending, stating her belief that special interest groups are profiting, at the expense of the taxpayers, from those in county government interested in campaign contributions for self-perpetuation. Citing statistics, Darling referenced Morris County as only one of nine counties in the nation posting average annual property taxes over $10,000, then contrasted that to Morris County’s deteriorating infrastructure, poor road conditions, and cutbacks in human services needed by seniors and veterans including consideration by the current Freeholder Board of the privatization of the County’s nursing facility, Morris View. Heather Darling projected that the heroin epidemic, sanctuary city issues, bail reform and the need to protect citizens from random acts of terrorism will create a massive financial burden on Morris County as the Sheriff’s Office adapts to respond to these needs and stated that Morris County tax payers need Freeholders who will look at the tax payers’ bottom line.
Darling referred to herself as a conservative businesswoman and not a politician. She stated that her volunteer efforts in Morris County have been rendered without any expectation of compensation including the many evenings she has spent over the last couple of years visiting Republican clubs throughout the county and getting to know the concerns of the members and their communities, indicating that she has visited each town with an organized club and attended reorganization meetings to meet the leaders in the other towns without clubs meeting regularly.
Darling closed with the indication that she intends to fight for the citizens of Morris County because it is “our home.”