Middlesex County commissioners outline priorities for 2021


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The Middlesex County Board of County Commissioners shared their vision for the county in 2021. That vision focuses on initiatives and programs that position the county for continued success, including: economic development – building an infrastructure for businesses; education – enabling students to thrive; and COVID-19 – expanded testing and vaccine distribution.

The event, which was held online Jan. 7 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, began with the swearing-in ceremonies of re-elected County Commissioners Leslie Koppel and Charles Tomaro, and newly elected County Clerk Nancy J. Pinkin, before the reorganization meeting began.

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Additionally, the county honored two longtime public servants on their retirements: County Clerk Elaine Flynn who served 25 years, and Surrogate Kevin Hoagland, who served 28 years.

While the COVID-19 pandemic required the county to devote much of its attention to pandemic-related response during 2020, the goal for 2021 is to focus on new initiatives that drive continued economic growth and invest further in education while continuing to provide a strong, proactive, innovative response to the global pandemic, according to a prepared statement.

“As we take a collective sigh that the year is behind us, we can look to the hope that a new year brings. While 2020 brought us together, 2021 will lead us forward,” County Commissioner Director Ronald G. Rios said in the statement. “Our all-important work with the pandemic will continue. However, this new year will present the opportunity to continue making crucial investments in our economic and educational infrastructures.”


In 2021, Middlesex County will move forward with an emphasis on its economic development strategy in order to attract, retain, and expand businesses in three key industries: life sciences, food innovation, and electric connected autonomous vehicles. In keeping with the strategies developed by the Destination 2040 strategic plan, the county’s master economic roadmap, this future-thinking growth strategy will foster opportunities and pathways across a variety of disciplines including education, technology, healthcare, and business, according to the statement.

“As Middlesex County continues to grow as an economic epicenter in New Jersey, as shown in the recent announcement of the HUB in New Brunswick, we will be well positioned to welcome entrepreneurs and industry leaders to a thriving community in which business, arts and culture, and innovation are fostered to give our residents the environment in which they will lead healthy, dynamic, and prosperous lives,” Rios said in the statement.

This year, the county is renewing its commitment to education by investing in Middlesex College and the students who will become the entrepreneurs, CEOs, essential workers, and life science experts of the businesses that will call Middlesex County home.

“Students embarking on a career at Middlesex College will receive a first-class education and be given invaluable real-world opportunities to succeed and thrive personally, academically, and professionally,” Rios said in the statement.

As the global pandemic caused by COVID-19 continues, so too will the county’s vigilance in the fight against this deadly virus and its dedication to creating a safe environment for county residents to return to work and school in order to grow the economy and workforce, according to the statement. In 2021, the county will continue to perform free COVID-19 testing, evolving with the needs of the community. Middlesex County will also continue contact tracing efforts and will play a key, collaborative role in bringing the COVID-19 vaccine to County residents by working closely with local, state, and federal officials.


The full reorganization meeting and commissioner director’s speech are located on the county’s YouTube page.

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