On October 28th, KACE hosted “Meet the Candidate” with the Republican candidates for Bergen County Freeholders and Bergen County Executive. Dubbed “Team Donovan,” the Republican candidates include the incumbent County Executive Kathleen Donovan and Freeholder candidates Bob Avery (Ridgefield) and Bernadette Walsh (Ridgewood).
Leaders of several Korean American organizations in Bergen County, along with KACE Interns, attended the event to eagerly discuss with the candidates their concerns and ask questions regarding issues that affect the Korean American community in Bergen County. The attendees included President Taebok Kang of Korean American Senior Citizens’ Association of NJ, President Kenneth Yu of the Korean American Association of New Jersey, and President Myung-geun Park of Korean American Chamber of Commerce of NJ.
During the series of questions, the incumbent County Executive Kathleen Donovan cited her involvement with the “Comfort Women” victims and dedication of a memorial in their honor as the most memorable of the many experiences she’s had with the Korean American community in the past 4 years.
The candidates of “Team Donovan” then explained that their priority is to decrease the county government’s spending, with a particular focus on lowering the property tax across the county, as the incumbent has in her first term. Bob Avery elaborated on the “shared services” initiative that the county government has been working on and argued that the amount of property taxes throughout Bergen County can be reduced by a third, simply by combining police, fire, and public works departments among 5 to 6 neighboring municipalities.
Regarding the LG Electronics HQ project in Englewood Cliffs, Donovan defended the construction project, saying that LG followed all legal steps for approval, even though she respects all the criticism against it. She further shared her optimism for an increase in employment and revenue that the new LG headquarters is expected to bring in.
The candidates further expressed their support for more involvement of the Korean Americans in not only the private sector, but also the public sector. Citing her recent employment of 2 Korean bilingual dispatchers in emergency services and 4 Korean bilingual candidates for the County Police, Ms. Donovan remarked that she and her running mates will always support any Korean Americans become community leaders so that the face of Bergen County truly represents its people.
Lastly, regarding the Blue Laws in the county, the candidates cautiously responded that although the Laws are necessary, there should be more flexibility, such as allowing each municipality to decide to suit its own needs.