FREEHOLD – Two three-year terms on the Borough Council and the four-year mayor’s term will be on the ballot in Freehold Borough on Election Day, Nov. 5.
Democrat J. Nolan Higgins, who has served as mayor since 2012, is not seeking re-election. His term will end on Dec. 31.
The council terms of Democrats Kevin Kane and Margaret Rogers will expire on Dec. 31. Kane will be seeking the office of mayor. Rogers and Adam Reich will be the Democratic candidates for council. The Democrats are profiled in a separate article.
Republican Marianne Earle is running for mayor. Seeking council seats on the GOP ticket are Lori Annetta and Michael Lichardi.
Earle is the co-founder of the Earle Companies, a construction business she started with her late husband, Walter, in 1968. The business is now being run by their sons, Walter II, Thomas and Michael.
A graduate of Seton Hall University with a degree in nursing, Earle was a volunteer at St. Rose of Lima School, Freehold Borough, while her seven children were students there; she holds the title of dame in the Order of Malta, a religious group that seeks to assist the homeless and the poor; she serves on the Foundation Board of Collier Youth Services, Marlboro; she is a charter member of the Freehold Center Partnership; she serves on the Board of Trustees of Old Tennent Cemetery, Manalapan; and she is a member of the Handbell Choir at St. Rose Of Lima.
“My reason for wanting to become the mayor is because I want to make a difference,” Earle said. “Hopefully, we will work together with the many active organizations in the borough toward one goal: a unified, forward-thinking community. Perhaps we will bring it back to its glory days. Maybe too much to ask, but we will see.”
Annetta is a client service/relationship manager for JP Morgan, New York, and has maintained a career in financial services for more than 30 years with banks, broker dealers and investment advisory firms.
Annetta is making her first bid for Borough Council. She currently serves on the Freehold Historical Preservation Committee and has been involved in community recreational programs as a committee member when her children were active participants. She cited her grandfather’s service as mayor of a town in Michigan and broader community interests as influences for seeking election.
“I would say my running is about new ideas and new objectives, new people viewing things through a different lens and from a different perspective,” Annetta said. “I’m approaching this initiative as a neighbor to all of my neighbors throughout the borough.
“People make a difference when they work together so I want to see the borough flourish and I want to build on how we draw people to the town center and to enjoy our downtown area and all we have and can offer. I want to build on community; Freehold is a charming town and I want to share it,” she said.
Lichardi is physician assistant with more than 30 years experience and a doctor of podiatric medicine. He has completed a fellowship with the New York State Department of Health, which he said provided training and experience in governmental and political issues of medically disenfranchised and special needs populations.
Making his second bid for Borough Council after running in 2008, Lichardi is a member of the Freehold Borough K-8 School District Board of Education; first serving from 2009-18 and rejoining the board for a one-year term this year. Since 2015, he has served as board president.
Lichardi has been a volunteer firefighter with the Freehold Fire Department for 19 years, a member of the Medical Reserve Corps of the Monmouth County Health Department, a former board member of Freehold Little League baseball, and a former Cub Scout assistant den leader with the Monmouth Council Boy Scouts of America.
“The same names and families resurface in our government,” Lichardi said. “The ages old story of a small town. I deeply appreciate their great work and service, yet those politicians who linger lose their impetus and are destined to become stale.
“Fresh candidates with a distinguished resume of service widen the scope of choice for voters. I and my distinguished running mates expand the opportunity to choose rather than recycle the status quo.
“I am encouraged by the selection of our newest council members,” he said. “They have inspired my candidacy to continue that wave of progress. It’s not about being Democrat or Republican, certainly not at this level of government.
“My family moved here over 20 years ago and are deeply invested in building upon its splendor. Now you understand why I’m running; subsequently, you will understand what I intend; essentially, to take the baton and move us forward commensurate with our changing borough,” he said.
Democrats hold all six council seats and the mayor’s office.