FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP – Two Democrats and two Republicans have announced their intention to seek a pair of three-year terms on the Township Committee in Freehold Township this year.
Democrats Jenan Agnihotri and Jennie Jeanette Mistretta will seek the seats that are currently held by Republicans Anthony Ammiano and Thomas Cook. Ammiano and Cook are seeking re-election. They are profiled in a separate article.
Agnihotri is making her first bid for Township Committee. She is a pediatric dentist and practices as an associate at several offices in central New Jersey.
“I gained interest in running within the past year when I attended multiple Planning Board hearings in regard to a business that was improperly run and adjacent to our home and neighborhood,” Agnihotri said. “I joined the fight to gain our right to privacy, and to live in a quiet, peaceful and environmentally safe, clean neighborhood.
“I realized after attending these hearings that with some effort, individual citizens can really make a difference in each other’s lives, as well as within our community, by participating in local government,” she said. “I want to bring a fresh, young perspective to the Township Committee and help our town forge a better future with more balanced representation.”
Mistretta is making her fourth bid for Township Committee. She has worked as a real estate professional for 33 years. She is a member of the Monmouth Advocacy Team, which is dedicated to fulfilling affordable housing obligations in Monmouth County.
“I have taken an active part in building the Democratic Party in Freehold Township,” Mistretta said. “Prior to 2008, Republican candidates for Township Committee ran virtually uncontested. I and my fellow Democrats have been pushing and fighting for issues we believe in and serving as watchdogs over a one-party committee.
“I have championed charitable and social causes and political organizations,” she said. “For example, I involved myself in fighting against several cell phone tower proposals that affected Freehold Township. I was also part of a team that fought and won to disallow a weigh station to be developed in Freehold Township. I have always been on the side of our citizens in regard to neighborhood zoning and infrastructure issues.
“I directly pitch in with Habitat for Humanity and worked on the Sandy cleanup efforts, tearing down and rebuilding for Sandy victims. I was a leading member in the citizens campaign to bring about pay to play and ethics reform to the freeholders in Monmouth County. Unfortunately, with new party control, that law was eliminated.
“If I get elected, l would to like introduce a Shop Freehold program to save taxpayers money and boost local township business revenue,” she said. “I would like to initiate a trial of community-based budgeting in Freehold Township, similar to that recently implemented by Freehold Borough to allow taxpayers a voice on how to spend a portion of the township budget.
“I want to concentrate on the condition of our roads and infrastructure and work for a safer community and environment,” Mistretta said. “I believe in partnering with police, residents and other communities to fight the opioid crisis and to consolidate knowledge. I was recently trained to administer Narcan to save overdose victims. Bullying is another issue which deeply affects our young people and needs to be addressed. Lastly, I need a seat at the table to make an impact on our community.”
Republicans hold all five seats on the Township Committee.