Murphy: NJ Must Phase Out Political Title 'Born From Racism'

WCBS 880 Newsroom
July 10, 2020 - 12:49 pm

    TRENTON, N.J. (WCBS 880) — New Jersey is looking to phase out the political title freeholder.

    The Board of Chosen Freeholders would instead be called the Chosen Board of County Commissioners, under a proposed bill that's set to be considered by a Senate committee next week, the New York Times reported..

    In a statement, Gov. Phil Murphy, Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin voiced their support for the bill, saying the term "freeholder" dates back to a time when only white male landowners could hold public office.

    “As our nation tears down symbols of injustice, we must also tear down words we use in New Jersey that were born from racism. It’s past time for New Jersey to phase out the term ‘freeholder’ from our public discourse," they said in a joint statement. "This is not a matter of political correctness; it is a corrective action to replace an outdated designation that is rooted in institutional prejudice.”

    Monmouth County Freeholder Director Thomas A. Arnone called the timing of the announcement, in the middle of a pandemic, "mindboggling."

    "This is not the time for grand standing and changing the title of elected officials is not going to help anyone," he said. "Not only will it not help, but changing the title right now is actually going to cost our taxpayers money, when so many are already struggling."

    Arnone claims it will cost thousands of dollars to update and change signs, structures and buildings bearing the title.
    "This is something that is going to take an incredible amount of time, effort and money to accomplish," Arnone said.

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