Why I am running for Freeholder
My name is Justin O’Hea, and I was born and raised in Union County, NJ. By profession, I am a licensed clinical social worker. I have worked in non-profit organizations, and have been a public servant for almost 10 years working with underserved and at-risk populations. I have dedicated my entire adult life to working with the poor, the disabled, the people with addictions, the formerly incarcerated, the homeless, the at-risk youth and the like. I am also proud to say that I am Co-President of the largest public sector healthcare professionals union in the state of New Jersey. I am a political person; and because of my experiences working as a social worker, activist, and public sector union leader, I have grown tired with the corruption, cronyism, nepotism, and stagnancy that is rampant throughout this state.
New Jersey is a wealthy state with very high taxes. Despite that, the severe lack of representation from our elected officials remains one of the core problems of our democracy. I have spoken with many elected officials representing HPAE, check in hand, fighting to get 2 minutes of time to urge and encourage them to support healthcare legislation like safe staffing, or for funding at University Hospital, only to be ignored. I have tried for years to get the cooperation of assembly people and state senators to help us get some transparency regarding the Rutgers Health partnership, only to be met with cold shoulders and empty promises.
New Jersey is a deeply corrupt state, and has earned the nickname of the Soprano state for a reason. Union County has a budget of about half a billion dollars, and I don’t need to tell you, that is a lot of money! With a budget that large, why is it that we have roads full of potholes and decrepit bridges? Why do we have underfunded schools, and limited after school programs? Why do we have struggling social programs, and distressed neighborhoods with policies that allow harmful herbicides and chemicals to be used in our parks? So much of that budget gets handed over to the public sector, through self-dealing contracts with kickbacks, that by the end of the day, there is nothing left for the people.
I am not running to align myself with anyone, or any political faction. I am running to represent the people of Union County. I have zero interest in forming friendships with greedy and corrupt people. I am running for freeholder to let some sunlight in on the budget appropriation process, to call out crooked deals, handouts to the private sector, and wasteful spending.
My whole purpose will not just be exposing and eradicating corruption, but to make sure that funding is directed at the distressed communities that need it the most. I am not here to benefit off the backs of the poor and working class. I here to get elected. To start the process of rooting out and eliminating the rot that has plagued our county government for decades. My entire professional life has been spent fighting for the underserved, the disabled, and the poor. I plan to continue that commitment if I am elected to the office of Freeholder.
We need justice and ethics, and I plan to deliver! If you have interest in volunteering, donating, or sharing your support, please help me spread the word. I will be running on the same ballot line as Bernie Sanders, Senate candidate Lawrence Hamm, and will have the honor of running with 2 excellent running mates in Aissa Heath, and Hector Meneses.
Justin O’Hea, LCSW
Co-President, HPAE Local 5094