Union County Commissioner Dr. Angela Garretson’s government experience spans over 18 years, having served as a school board member, councilwoman at large, and Mayor of Hillside. She is serving in her second term on the Union County Board of Commissioners and was instrumental in changing the title of “Freeholder” to “Commissioner” statewide in 2021.
Commissioner Garretson is a long-time advocate for citizen engagement, economic stability, public safety, social justice, health, education and equity and inclusion. She has served on Board of Commissioner Committees and as liaison to advisory boards, including the Advisory Board on the Status of Minorities. Dedicated to building coalitions statewide, Garretson is the Board of Commissioners’ designee to the New Jersey Association of Counties, where she recently co-founded the statewide County Black Caucus, also recognized as NJ19.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Garretson demonstrated bold leadership and excellent public service. As a county official, she engaged state and federal resources to champion recovery efforts and reinvestments to empower impacted residents, businesses and communities. Her advocacy led to significant federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding rewards that will benefit Union County constituents for generations. Among other notable contributions, Garretson’s efforts also yielded funds from the bipartisan infrastructure law and other federal programs.
Dr. Garretson’s professional career in higher education, civic and political engagement commenced at the Rutgers University Eagleton Institute of Politics. She continues to work in academia and previously served as a Legislative Aide in the New Jersey General Assembly and various campaigns. Currently, she is the Chief External Affairs Officer in the Office of the President of the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), where she is responsible for maintaining local, state and federal engagement in the University’s global research and development.
Dr. Garretson presided over landmark studies that reported the University’s $2.8 billion annual economic impact on the State of New Jersey. She was also a member of the winning team in New Jersey that become a finalist for the Build Back Better Regional Challenge. The contest was designed to develop or scale industry sectors, train the workforce of today and tomorrow, and build resilient economies. Numerous awards and recognition highlight her contributions. These include industry publications citing her accomplishments as one of the Top 50 Women in Business by NJBIZ; an Influencer of Color by ROI-NJ; and a member of the list of Who’s Who in America.
Commissioner Dr. Angela Garretson graduated from Montclair Kimberley Academy, Syracuse University (B.S), Rutgers University (MPA with honors), and Rutgers and NJIT (Ph.D. joint doctoral program). In addition, she is a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha, Sorority Inc., Omega Psi Omega Chapter in Elizabeth, and the National Sorority of Phi Delta Kappa, Inc. Delta Pi Chapter in Hillside. She and her family reside in Hillside.