Here’s why we enthusiastically endorse Terrance Stokes for Mercer County Commissioner:
The “County Line” in primary election ballots: Being placed in a preferential ballot position unfairly benefits some candidates and disadvantages others. Recognizing the outsize influence of the “county line” primary election ballots on the outcomes of elections, and the considerable voter confusion that they cause, I will therefore advocate for an “Office Bloc” ballot as is used in every other state and in some counties in NJ (see http://ggcnj.org/resolution for more information).
Comment: The county line serves to protect incumbents and has the potential of consolidating “power and influence” into the hands of a select few. While recognizing the potential benefits (resources, etc.) of receiving the endorsement, should a non endorsed candidate elect to primary, the nature of the ballot puts that individual at an extreme and arguably unfair disadvantage.
Contract Vetting: I will rigorously review all county contracts to make sure they reflect fiscal responsibility and the values of constituents.
Comment: As County Commissioners, we have a fiduciary responsibility to the residents of the county. As the legislative body of county government it is our duty and obligation to protect the financial interest of county residents and function as a legitimate check on the County Executive.
Pay to Play: I will not exchange professional service contracts for donations to my campaign or the campaigns of my friends/allies. When possible, I will open contracts up for a competitive bidding process, instead of automatically renewing last year’s contract.
Comment: Leadership is about representing the needs and will of the people, not serving personal interests or seeking personal gain.
Ethics Reform: I support ethics reforms that would require broader disclosure of financial information (e.g., investments) by candidates for county commissioner, as a means for regulating campaigns and limiting corruption.
Comment: We have to take whatever steps necessary to ensure public trust of elected officials.
Professionalism: I will commit my time and energy to full length meetings that make information accessible to the public. I will not support rushing through an abbreviated consent agenda
Meeting location and accessibility: I support using technology to make meeting attendance more accessible for residents, both publicly in person and via live-streaming of meetings (e.g., zoom) or other remote attendance options.
Comment: As we emerge out of this pandemic, effective utilization of technology as a means to inform and engage the public must remain an option available to residents of the county.
Meeting Structure: I believe that county commissioners should hear from the public that they represent, and therefore I will not limit public comment beyond reasonable rules that make it possible for all who want to contribute, to do so (e.g., no more than 3 minutes per speaker). When possible, I will be responsive to public input.
Comment: The voice of the public is vital to the process. I am a proponent of hearing diverse opinions and thoughts on matters involving the public.
Information reporting: I support easily accessible online meeting agendas and minutes. I support user-friendly budgets so residents can easily see how public funds are allocated. I support user friendly agendas that include explainers about resolutions being voted on.
Responsible County Administration & Oversight: I will work to ensure that the county entities and public services I oversee (such as libraries, parks, technical schools, community colleges, correction facilities, and infrastructure) are safe, professionally staffed, and appropriately funded.
Appointments to Boards, Authorities and Commissions: I will appoint people with diverse perspectives to boards, authorities and committees, opening up government for greater participation, rather than selecting the well-connected. Because new ideas and voices are important, I will seek out new residents to fill these board positions and strive for diversity that represents constituents (e.g., in terms of gender and race), rather than having the same individuals serve for decades.
Comment: Inclusion makes our society great. Diversity, in every sense, is something that I fully support and will work to achieve. Representation must be reflective of the community at large.
More information about Terrance Stokes:
Party affiliation: Democratic party
Current Occupation: Education
Education: Graduate – Trenton Central High School, BA – University of Pennsylvania
Public/party service: Former committee person – Ewing Township, Board Member – Anchor House, Commissioner – Ewing Township Redevelopment Agency, Founder – Trenton Youth Development Initiative (Trenton Youth Football)