Courtesy of

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By Anthony Giordano, Contributing Writer

Kathleen Donovan versus James Tedesco will prove to be an intriguing race for Bergen County Executive. Now to pose a question to all of our readers, do you know who either of these individuals are? Do you know how this very election may shape the education you receive? How about their stances? Can you even differentiate which party either belongs to? If the answers to these questions alludes you do not fret. The questions were not meant to leave one dumbfounded , but instead become curious and socially mindful of how significant this election actually is.

Let us begin with Kathleen Donovan, current County Executive and the first woman to do so. Being a pioneering female in New Jersey politics is not foreign for Ms. Donovan in that she was the also the first female Bergen County clerk in the illustrious 300 years the county has existed. The metaphorical glass ceiling implied of females in the workplace probably has nightmares about Ms. Donovan.  During her tenure as County Executive in which she succeeded Bob Franks, Donovan has many noteworthy accomplishments. One such accomplishment is her relocation of the East Ridgewood County Health department to One Bergen Plaza in Hackensack giving way for the Paramus Police department to have a new headquarters. The savvy move saved the county the expense of paying for a new police station which may have cost upwards of $45 million.

To say that Kathleen Donovan is a strong candidate would be a drastic understatement and she figures to be great competition for a very game James Tedesco. The same James Tedesco III whose roots are deeply embedded in Paramus. A man who went from graduate of Paramus High School to Paramus Mayor, Tedesco has seen many a change in his native community and has been at the helm for more than eight years.  He was sworn in as a freeholder fairly recently and he brings to the table a willingness to fight for the County “Blue Laws”, understandable considering Paramus has the most strict, and the fantastic support from fellow freeholders in David Ganz and Joan Voss. While both strong candidates in their own rights this article would likely draw no interest if the all-important question of how does this affect us wasn’t answered.

Kathleen Donovan recently spoke at Bergen County Technical School outlining a proposal that would allocate $1.6 million towards education in the county in 2014 with half of those dollars assigned to Bergen Community.  It is worth pointing out that her opposition was quick to remind all that Donovan was also at the forefront of a $5 million budget cut to Bergen Community college in 2011, her first year as County Executive. Though the budget cuts did in fact occur, members of Kathleen Donovan’s campaign team would then retort that Donovan was critical of all college funding during the time due to the fiscal irresponsibility of former college president G. Jeremiah Ryan. Donovan seems to put emphasis on education but Tedesco may have a slight edge in this category.

Tedesco already has the support of The Bergen County Education Association evident in the outstanding endorsement by the Associations president Joseph Coppola in, “We felt he would be, down the road, of service to our profession.” He recently spoke to a room of 150 Eastwick College students outlining a plan that put great emphasis on the underprivileged youth by offering free tutoring by Bergen Academies students and wifi accessibility for low-income families.  Tedesco, along with Freeholder Budget Committee counterparts Joan Voss and David Ganz, have worked diligently to aid in funding the restoration of the $5 million cut during Donovan’s inaugural year as Executive.  Tedesco seems firmly established in this race which is quite the accomplishment for a man who seemed to be an afterthought in the race behind the likes of Surrogate Michael Dressler and Freeholder Chairman James Carroll. Tedesco was given the space to contend but opposing the Female political stalwart that is Kathleen Donovan will not be elementary. Let us hope for our education’s well-being, may the best candidate prevail on November 4, 2014.