Freeholder Bette Jane Kowalski
Freeholder Bette Jane Kowalski has been a lifelong advocate for parks, education, and community service and has built on that commitment while serving on the Freeholder Board. She was elected to her first term in 2004 and was re-elected in 2007 and 2010. As Freeholder Chairwoman in 2007, she promoted initiatives for shared county-local services to reduce costs and increase efficiency. With her Freeholder colleagues, she works to continue ensuring high quality, cost effective service.
For several years, she has served as the Freeholder liaison to the Human Services Advisory Council, which coordinates the services of the county and various agencies and organizations to seniors, children, and those in need. As a member of the Open Space, Recreation, and Historic Preservation Trust Fund, she has worked with the Freeholder Board to add hundreds of acres of land to the Union County parks system, preserved for public recreation and nature conservation.
Freeholder Kowalski has championed ballot initiatives to extend state funding for open space and recreation. She regularly participates in the Adopt-a-Park, Adopt-a-Trail, and annual BioBlitz programs. A member of the Cranford River Maintenance Committee and the Tree Advisory Board, she helps at river cleanups and other projects.
A supporter of the arts, Freeholder Kowalski frequently attends events featuring people of all ages in Union County’s diverse communities. She has served on the board of the Union County Performing Arts Center and is a recipient of the Advocates for New Jersey History Government Leadership Award. She was recently honored by the Union County Women’s Political Caucus as a Notable Woman in Politics.
Freeholder Kowalski has served on the Workforce Investment Board and the Raritan Valley Railroad Coalition, the Cultural and Heritage Programs Advisory Board, the Advisory Board on Education, Policy and Administrative Code Committee, the Economic Development Committee, the Commission on the Status of Women, and the Committee on the Status of Libraries.
Freeholder Kowalski grew up in Cranford and graduated with honors from Cranford High School. She has a Master’s degree in Journalism from New York University, and a Bachelor of Arts from Hunter College, where she graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. As an editor and writer, Ms. Kowalski has worked for numerous publications, including New York Newsday, the Village Voice, and World Press Review. She is married and lives in Cranford.