Anna Little for Freeholder

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Atlanticville - article on Anna Little

Highlands official joins GOP race for freeholder

LONG BRANCH — Anna Campbell Little, Republican councilwoman for the borough of Highlands, Friday announced that she is a candidate for the freeholder seat vacated by Amy Handlin. An attorney with a solo practice in Highlands and Elizabeth, Little joined a field of approximately eight candidates who have put their names forward for the seat that became open when Handlin, a Republican, won a bid for an Assembly seat in the 13th District. Little announced her interest in the seat held by Handlin for 16 years on Friday at a press conference held at Freddie’s Pizzeria in Long Branch. A native of Middletown and a Highlands resident for six years, Little was first elected to the Borough Council in 2002 and reelected in 2005. She is a member of the Highlands Environmental Commission. As a council member, she said her achievements include securing grant funding for the rehabilitation of the borough’s community center and overseeing grant applications for Miller Beach, tennis and baseball courts at Snug Harbor and playground equipment for children with disabilities. On a county level, she is a member of the Monmouth County Transportation Council and the Route 36 Bridge Steering Committee. The Monmouth County Republican Committee will hold an election Feb. 24 at Battleground Country Club in Manalapan to determine who will assume the seat on the Board of Chosen Freeholders. According to Jim Giannell, municipal chairman of the Red Bank Republican Committee, who accompanied Little when she announced her candidacy, the appointment to the Board of Chosen Freeholders would run through December. The appointee would have to run for election in November to fill out the remainder of the three-year term through December 2007. Little attended Middletown High School South and earned a law degree at Seton Hall University, Newark, in 1992. She opened her own practice focused on immigration law in 1994. Little and her husband have three children. She also serves on the borough Recreation Committee and is a member of the Historical Society of Highlands. Little said she was gratified by her record of accomplishments during her first term on council. Little said she is making a bid to step up to county government because she feels she is needed there. “The freeholders have accomplished so much, and I would like to see these accomplishments continue,” she said. “Last year was a rough year. I think I can help as a facilitator.” Little listed her first priority as ethics and regaining public trust, followed by the county budget and taxes. “Ethics is first on my list. I do think there have been good measures initiated to regain public trust by having a transparent Freeholder Board,” she said, adding that one way this is being accomplished is by changing the time of meetings to make them more accessible to the public. Second on her list, she said, is easing the burden of high property taxes. “I would be the advocate for Monmouth County families because I’m a young mother myself,” she said. “County families have gone through economic changes post 9/11.” On another issue of concern to families — affordable housing — Little said, the first step to making housing affordable in Monmouth County is to decrease taxes. As for county finances, Little said she has some new ideas. “I think there’s a movement to either cut spending or jobs. I think there’s a better way to go about this,” she said. Little said she would encourage public/private partnerships, particularly where county social services overlap with those of nonprofits. Another high priority issue, she said, is stewardship of the county’s remaining open space. Little emphasized the importance of retaining home rule. “I’m a big proponent of home rule,” she explained. “I come from a small town, the Highlands population is just 5,000 — it’s 1 square mile. There are differences from one town to another in the county. “Geography represents only one factor in evaluating needs of towns. There are social, economic, environmental issues that make each town different from one another. It’s impossible for someone sitting in Trenton to understand those needs.”