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Dawn Fantasia (R)

Age: 44

Hometown: Ogdensburg. I purchased a home in Franklin in 2011, and have been a Sussex County resident for 30 years.

Family: Three children: Maria, Aidan, and Lila

Education: M.S. in Education, Educational Leadership, Capella University; B.A .in Theatre, minor in communications, Davis & Elkins College; graduate of Wallkill Valley Regional High School

Occupation: School principal, Bergen Arts and Science Charter School

Experience: Current Franklin Borough Council president (Finance, Personnel, and Public Safety committees). Former member of the Franklin Planning Board, Zoning Board, EDC, and Sussex County Republican Committee. I have extensive experience in strategic planning, budgeting, and designing and implementing large-scale programs and services. I've worked in urban education for the past 10 years as both an educator and executive team member in public charter school districts, where we are accustomed to funding inequities and doing a lot with very little. Lack of fair school funding is also crippling Sussex County; I have testified in Trenton multiple times regarding equitable school funding.

Campaign website: and

List your top 3 issues and what you would do regarding each issue.

1. Fiscal transparency is a must. The public has the right to be informed of decisions that affect the financial health, safety, and welfare of the county. An ordinance that establishes no borrowing that exceeds 2 percent of the annual appropriations of the county without voter approval will guarantee that the process of acquiring debt is done in the open and publicly debated. Warren County has established this policy and has lowered its county tax rate. Expectations, timelines, and funding sources must be clearly communicated to the residents to foster trust in those elected to serve.

2. Next, prioritized spending to reduce and stabilize taxes must be implemented. In my time on the Franklin Borough Finance Committee, our governing body has made it our first priority to differentiate needs vs. wants. As a result, we were able to reduce the municipal tax rate in 2016 by just over 1 percent, followed by no increase in both 2017 and 2018, with a healthy fund balance remaining and a Aa3 credit rating, while strengthening services and increasing resources.

3. Finally, communication must be clear, frequent, and truthful. You cannot possibly govern at the county level if you do not effectively communicate with each municipality. Be present; you cannot lead from the sidelines. Listen to what municipal leaders need for their respective communities, and do not micromanage the towns or the county employees. Our biggest asset in the county is our human capital, and county government must steward a vision of unity, respect, and true servant leadership.

What else should we know?

Services for our seniors and veterans are issues close to my heart due to my past work and volunteer experience with Meals on Wheels, and the military service of my father and both grandfathers. We must seek ways to improve access to services for our aging population and our veterans.

Joshua Hertzberg

Age: 43

Hometown: Sparta. I left Sparta after high school to attend college and work for the DEA, U.S. Border Control and Homeland Security

Family: Wife — Erica “Wright” Hertzberg. Children — Jacob, Jaxon, Callum, Elliana. Mother — Judith Hertzberg. All living in Sparta.

Education: Sparta High School, Sussex County Community College, University of Central Florida, University of Phoenix– Business Management, U.S. Border Patrol Academy & Academy and Training for Department of Homeland Security.

Occupation: Director of business operations for the International Longshoremen's Association. Mayor of Sparta.

Experience: As a Sparta councilman, and now mayor, we have lowered taxes, almost eliminated debt, earned a top credit rating all while increasing services to our residents. In my professional role, I have been part of negotiating billion-dollar deals, overhauling our accounting system, cutting spending and increasing cash reserves. I have a proven track record of making sound financial decisions, as well as life and death decisions as a federal agent. I will use all of this experience to make the right decisions for the Sussex County residents.

Campaign website:

List your top 3 issues and what you would do regarding each issue.

1. Fiscal responsibility-The number one priority of county government is to manage and provide critical services. That ability is severely diminished when it is overburdened by debt and is crippling residents with taxation. In government, it is always easy to give, knowing you won't be there when either the bank breaks, or the taxpayers backs do. What's hard is setting a strict financial plan and having the fortitude to stick with it. This happened in Sparta; we were crippled by debt and saw the impact all around us. Our sports fields were falling apart, we laid off police officers, and critical infrastructure was minimally maintained. With swift, strong corrective action, we turned things around. Sparta is almost debt-free while increasing police presence, adding parks and fields, and dedicating resources to our infrastructure. We did this all while lowering taxes; you deserve the same.

2. Communication with local township governing bodies, and their residents is top priority for me. I will propose each freeholder be assigned a number of municipalities, making them available to hear your concerns. After 3 1/2 years on the Sparta Council, I've never had an inquiry by a freeholder asking what we need. How do you provide residents service if you don't get to know them?

3. Service, because you cannot accomplish it without fiscal responsibility and communication first. We will make the hard decisions to correct the county's financial position. We will truly listen to you, and we will deliver the services Sussex County residents deserve.

What else should we know? I started in public service in southwest Texas as a border patrol agent, fighting illegal immigration and the interdiction of narcotics. I investigated Mexican cartels and U.S.-based distribution operations with the DEA. After 9/11, I joined Homeland Security to combat terrorism. I proudly serve my constituents in Sparta.

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