CLIFFSIDE PARK, N.J. -- Whatever hat John Mitchell might be wearing at the moment you catch him -- former Bergen County freeholder, Daily Voice community advisor, Rotarian, Audobon Society member -- he's stumping.
"When elected officials put politics before good government, they have it backwards. Good government makes for good politics," he says.
Born and raised in the Bronx, Mitchell moved to North Jersey from Washington, D.C., with his wife in 1992 after working for Con Edison for more than 25 years.
"We looked at many communities before we chose Cliffside Park," the father of five and grandfather of three said. "The major driver at the time was convenient shopping, a wonderful church and easy access to New York City, where I worked."
While on the county's Board of Chosen Freeholders, Mitchell -- who fancies himself a moderate Republican -- cut the budget in back-to-back years, in part by creating a taxpayer advocate reward for those employees and departments that reduced costs while enhancing services.
He said he is also proud of links that he forged between the county and the Korean-American, African-American and Latin American communities.
Mitchell is active with the Fort Lee Rotary Club, the Bergen County Audobon Society, the Bergen County Interfaith Brotherhood/Sisterhood Committee and the Church of the Epiphany in Cliffside Park -- where he is not only a eucharistic minister and lector but also has helped balance budgets.
Mitchell has his sights set on another freeholder bid.
"Property taxes are too high, business development is too slow, private-sector job creation is too stagnant. Academic achievement for students is too low," he said.
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